Whisky gets into the spirit of building back greener


£10 million fund to help UK’s world-famous distilleries go green by switching to low carbon fuels such as hydrogen.

Whisky and spirit lovers are raising a glass to the delivery of new government funding that will ensure they can enjoy their favourite tipple without it costing the earth.

Producers in one of the UK’s most iconic industries will be playing their part in reducing carbon emissions, with 17 distilleries today receiving the first phase of £10 million government funding to go green.

Eleven distilleries across Scotland and a further six in England will be able to kick-start green innovations thanks to the government backing, helping them harness energy sources such as low-carbon hydrogen, biomass and repurposed waste to power their operations.

The successful distilleries will receive between £44,000 and £75,000 in the first phase of funding, helping them boost decarbonisation research and development, with schemes including the use of hydrogen and biofuel boilers and geothermal energy in their production processes.

The funding will help prevent pollution equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, said:

Building back greener from the pandemic is something we can all raise a toast to.

Every business can play a part in the green industrial revolution and this funding will allow UK distilleries to lead the way by making their production cleaner while also creating jobs.

In 2019, the UK distilleries industry grew by 20%, highlighting the opportunity for the sector to be at the heart of the UK’s green and resilient recovery from coronavirus.

The Scotch whisky industry supports 40,000 jobs across the UK, with more than 10,000 people directly employed in Scotland.

With 7,000 of these jobs in rural Scottish areas, today’s funding will drive forward support for net-zero innovation in some geographically remote parts of the UK, creating more jobs and skills and providing opportunities for distilleries to develop their fuel transportation and storage technologies.

The announcement is another example of government commitment to build back greener and work towards the UK’s goal of reaching net zero by 2050 and comes in addition to the ambitious green targets announced in the Ten Point Plan and Energy White Paper.

UK government Scotland Minister, Iain Stewart said:

It is fantastic to see so many Scottish distilleries awarded this UK government funding. Scotland is world famous for its whisky and gin, with the spirits industry one of our greatest success stories.

This new funding will help the industry continue to build on its great work in tackling climate change.

From Aberdeen and Glasgow to Orkney and South Uist, this funding will help create jobs, support local businesses and communities and build back greener ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year.

Dagmar Droogsma, Director of Industry at the Scotch Whisky Association, said:

The Green Distilleries Fund is an important step on the industry’s journey towards net-zero. It will help the industry test new technologies, like hydrogen, which can be rolled out at scale in future years and enable Scotch Whisky to further drive down emissions and protect the natural environment.

With COP26 taking place in Glasgow this year, the Scotch whisky industry has ambitious plans to build on the success of the last decade when distilleries cut greenhouse gas emissions by 34%. There is more to do, but with continued support from government the Scotch whisky industry can continue to work towards a more sustainable future.


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