Sustainability in Distilling

Distilling sustainability will be a topic that will be discussed for the foreseeable future and we likely will be talking about it at least throughout our lifetimes. We’ve talked about sustainability in a past blog here but there are so many other facets to consider. Recycling heat, repurposing spent grain, staying local, and disposing of waste properly is still as important today as when the article was written (way back in April of 2020) but there are many other ways to help your business be more sustainable.

Sustainable is an interesting word because even though it has taken on many new connotations with the growing green movement its core meaning still remains intact. Sustainability doesn’t necessarily mean a zero carbon footprint, running off 100% renewables, or zero waste. There’s a lot that goes into making something that is sustainable and resilient enough to last through the years and while we can’t cover everything in a single blog post, we can touch on a few more topics to get you thinking about the changes you can implement to get moving in the right direction or at least thinking bout changes you can make.  

Incremental changes can make a big difference. You can have a huge impact on the environment and your variable costs by adding in energy capacity from renewable resources where it makes sense. Your kettle may be too big to run off of solar alone but if you can offset even a fraction of your total usage by putting your lights or HLT on solar. Those little changes can add up over the course of a year and save you money over time.

If solar isn’t an option there are other renewable energy sources. Switching to geothermal cooling can be expensive upfront but it can drastically offset temperature control costs over time. If you’re building a legacy business then this can be huge and if you have a 4-year exit strategy then this may make your offer more attractive. The cost/benefit analysis will vary case by case so do your due diligence, crunch some numbers, and see what makes the most sense for your business plan.

Water will continue to be a growing area of concern in the years to come as well. If you’re looking to make a legacy business then being conscious of how it’s used when distilling sustainably will help the longevity of your operation. If recycling the water in your operation is difficult or just not feasible for whatever reason it may be worth looking into adding in closed-loop systems to reduce waste. We touched on geothermal above but solar water heating or a number of options are available to tie your energy and water systems together to keep as much out of the drain as possible. 

Sustainability is about creating a legacy business that will be around in 18 or 80 years so that the spirits you’re putting away now will be able to reach their full potential and your grandchildren can tour the company, and legacy, that you built from scratch. Finding ways to reuse any resource, whether it be materials, energy, or old equipment, will help you keep things out of the landfill and hopefully keep money in your pocket. There’s no one size fits all solution and not everyone will benefit equally from any one strategy. Thinking about where you want to be in the next five, ten, or fifty years will help you figure out the best way to bring more sustainability into your business. We’d love to hear from you on what your best practices are so reach out and let us know!