Jim Beam plans to increase bourbon production at its largest Kentucky distillery to meet growing global demand as part of a more than $400 million expansion powered by renewable energy.
The project will increase capacity by 50% at the Beam plant in Boston, Kentucky, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the same percentage, Beam Suntory said Wednesday.
The company behind the top-selling bourbon said it reached production capacity at the Boston plant, about 58 miles south of Louisville, Kentucky. The expansion will be used to produce two mainstays – Jim Beam white and black label bourbons – and will primarily support expected overseas sales growth, particularly in European and Asian markets, said Carlo Coppola, general manager of brands. beam.
Jim Beam has recorded single-digit growth globally over the past two years, the company said.
Blending renewable energy into whiskey making, Beam will use a process that produces renewable natural gas to power the plant, the company said.
Beam Suntory said it has reached an agreement with 3 Rivers Energy Partners to build a facility across the street to convert waste from bourbon manufacturing into biogas, which will be treated to renewable natural gas standards and returned directly at the distillery.
When the project is complete, expected in 2024, the distillery will be powered 65% by renewable natural gas and 35% by fossil natural gas, the company said.
“This expansion will help us meet future demand for our iconic bourbon in a sustainable way that supports the environment and the local community that helped build and sustain Jim Beam,” said Albert Baladi, President and CEO. the management of Beam Suntory.
Beam Suntory, whose products include Maker’s Mark, made in Kentucky, said last year it wanted to halve its company-wide greenhouse gas emissions and water use by d ‘by 2030. The company’s more ambitious goal is to eliminate more carbon than is emitted from its operations and among its supplier base by 2040. The spirits giant has also pledged to plant 500,000 trees a year by 2030, with the aim of planting more trees than those used to make casks to hold its aging whiskies.
The new project will create 51 additional jobs and will include additional storage warehouses. The bourbon ages in new, charred oak barrels, where it acquires its color and flavor, while being stored in warehouses. Most bourbons typically age four to eight years before reaching consumers. Beam’s continued growth “reflects the strength of the iconic bourbon industry in our state,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said.
Beam is also fully utilizing the capacity of its Clermont, Kentucky distillery, where it produces the Jim Beam, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek and Legent brands. The two Beam distilleries are approximately 14 miles apart in central Kentucky. At another distillery that opened last year in Clermont, the company produces small-batch brands such as Booker’s, Baker’s and Little Book.
The company largely outlined the expansion of its Boston plant earlier this summer, but Wednesday’s announcement provided details on renewable energy production and use.
Beam Suntory, a subsidiary of Japan’s Suntory Holdings Limited, isn’t the first bourbon maker to go green. Last year, spirits giant Diageo opened a carbon-neutral Bulleit bourbon distillery powered by renewable energy in Lebanon, Kentucky.
Beam’s expansion into its Boston distillery is part of continued rapid growth in the state’s $9 billion distilling industry. According to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, Kentucky distillers are in the midst of a more than $5 billion capital investment drive that includes expanding production facilities and warehousing to meet global thirst. of Kentucky bourbon. Kentucky is home to 95% of the world’s bourbon production, the association said.