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Whisky Goes Green With Renewable Energy Powering Distilleries and Sustainable Corks

With all that has been said about going green, whisky distilleries are not one to be left behind. For an industry that prizes tradition and heritage and sometimes associated with the saying “old is gold”, the whisky industry is not untouched by the increased environmental consciousness and the need to do things differently.

After all, a great deal of what makes great whisky is the distillery’s surrounding environment, from the fresh spring waters used, to the barley malted and the climate conditions in which whisky is distilled and aged.


(Image Source: Love Exploring)


Tidal energy company Nova Innovation has stepped in to install subsea turbines between the islands of Jura and Islay, part of Scotland’s scenic Inner Hebrides. Islay is part of the five major Scotch whisky producing regions and has arguably been one of the hottest having gained much popularity in recent years. Some prominent distilleries on the island include Lagavulin (pictured above), Ardbeg, Bunnahabhain, Laphroaig and Kilchoman, and of course who could leave out the legendary Port Ellen.

(Image Source: The Travelling Tuckers) 

The goal is for the project, titled “Oran na Mara”, to generate up to 3 megawatts of renewable tidal power that will help decarbonization efforts and reduce the island’s use of fossil fuels.

This will allow the distilleries on Islay and Jura to tap into renewable power sources via a direct connection or alternatively through grid access.

The project is expected to be fully operational by 2022.

Scotland’s pristine environment is key to wonderful whisky. (Image Source: Bright Water Holidays)

While renewable energy projects spring up all over, what readers may be surprised to know is that Scotland is actually home to a wide range of cutting edge marine energy projects. This is as the waters surrounding Scotland are sufficiently deep and the environment is clean and clear enough for tidal energy developers to properly test and evaluate their technology.

As a result much of such renewable energy projects involving marine energy are conducted near the coasts of many of our favorite Scotch distilleries.

Being a huge nerd, I think is an insanely cool project and naturally if the environment plays such a big part in what goes in your bottle, you definitely need to be doing more to take care of it. Scotland has an amazing natural environment that is extremely clean and pristine, it’s great to hear that more is being done to keep it that way so that by the time this virus is done (maybe I’ll be a senior citizen by then), I can finally go visit and it’ll still look 2021, even if I don’t.

(Amorim’s Re-cork. Image Source: Amorim)

Portuguese company Amorim is the world’s largest cork maker and has recently debuted a new line of sustainable products, comprising of the Re-cork, Wood Tops and a new 100% cork stopper.

This is again part of a broader effort to be more aligned with sustainability goals, and be more conscious of our eco footprint. Amorim plans to have 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025, and for 30% of plastic packaging to be recycled.

The new Re-cork range will be recyclable and biodegradable and be an “ideal substitute” for plastic stoppers. It is made from 30-50% agglomerated cork content and a bio-based or recycled polymer. It not only requires less energy to manufacture, but also cuts the cost and carbon footprint of transportation since it is also lighter.

But at the end of the day, we have to admit that while eco-friendly options are great, cost is still going to be a factor. So it’s also good to know that Re-cork stoppers are going to be cheaper than wood stoppers, which will really incentivize change.

The other eco-friendly options includes the 100% cork stopper which is completely natural and made from a single core plank and even helps to stop tannin migration and color changes in white spirits from the cork itself. Lastly, the fully biodegradable Wood Top will be made using 100% natural minerals, basically just wood and cork. The wood will be sourced from sustainably managed forests in Northern Europe, where trees felled will be replaced by newly planted trees.

Amorim believes these options will be well-received given that demand for them have grown by more than 300% over the last five years.

You called and they heard! It’s again good to see the industry constantly evolve and adapt to not just environmental needs but that even consumers are becoming more conscious in their consumption. In my humble opinion, no one calls louder than the customer so you as a customer have great power to bring the change you want.

All in all, great news! Kanpai!