Go green fund for distilleries confidence booster

Bruichladdich Distillery

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A £10million fund from the UK Government is helping distilleries go green.

Islay’s Bruichladdich Distillery is just one of 11 in Scotland, including on South Uist, receiving funding.

The news has been welcomed by Islay resident and Argyll and Bute Council’s policy lead for business, regeneration and commercial development Alastair Redman, who says the government’s support is ‘a real confidence booster’.

Thanks to the funding, whisky and spirit lovers will be able to enjoy their favourite tipple without it costing the earth.

In all, 17 distilleries across Scotland and 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 prevent pollution equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.

Councillor Redman said: ‘We are all very pleased to learn of this exciting new project at Bruichladdich, here in Islay.

‘Our distilleries are absolutely fundamental to the island’s economy so this government support is a real confidence-builder.

‘I’m already looking forward towards my first dram provided courtesy of low-carbon hydrogen!’

Bruichladdich’s chief executive officer Douglas Taylor said: ‘We’ve always sought to have a positive impact on Islay and on the industry as a whole. The industry is one of Scotland’s largest exports and collectively we need to do more to reduce our environmental footprint.

‘Now we’ve set ourselves a target to be net-zero emissions in our production process by 2025. As a consequence of that we’re absolutely thrilled to be exploring hydrogen combustion as a potential fuel sources for the industry.’

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.’

Dagmar Droogsma, director of industry at the Scotch Whisky Association, said: ‘With COP26 climate change conference 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 per cent. There is more to do, but with continued support from government the Scotch whisky industry can continue to work towards a more sustainable future.’

Investment is also going to the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.