OUR SUSTAINABILITY STORY IS HAPPENING NOW, NOT IN 2050
We take our sustainability and environmental commitments seriously. When we say our mission is to create the best Irish whiskey with the least environmental impact to land and sea, we really mean it.
We believe that ultimately, whiskey is nature. As a small company, we may not be able to save the world. But what we can do, is make a measurable difference today, at our edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
Grain to Glass
We pride ourselves on being a grain to glass distillery. This means we do everything on-site from growing our own grain to distilling, maturing, blending and bottling; hence “grain to glass.”
For sustainability, transparency, and provenance, we feel that being in control of every step of the process is important. This way consumers know exactly what is going into our spirits and how we make them.
Here is how our grain to glass sustainability story is shaping up:
- We minimise our transport carbon footprint by keeping 100% of production operations within the local area. We distil, blend, bottle and warehouse all our products in the Clonakilty area.
- The barley we use in our whiskey is either grown on the family farm or supplied by local farmers, the majority within a 15km radius.
- 100% of our local barley growers are IGAS certified (Irish Grain Assurance Scheme), which helps to ensure traceability. 90% of our growers are also members of the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES), a farmer-friendly scheme to help address biodiversity decline while delivering an income support for up to 50,000 farm families in Ireland.
On the family farm where we grow our heritage barley, and continue to apply sustainable practices, such as min-till farming to improve soil health.
100% of our co-products, residue of the distillation process, are redistributed to local farmers and are used as fertiliser or animal feed. (Co-products are spent grains, pot ale and spent lees).
Spirits production is traditionally a process that uses a lot of energy and water. To mitigate this, we make every effort to use renewable sources and use water efficiently. For example:
- 100% of the electricity we use in the distillery is made from renewable sources.
- The water used to cut our new make spirit is sourced in its natural state from deep wells.
- The water used in the cooling system at the distillery is recirculated which reduces water usage.
Recyclable, Sustainable Packaging
98% of our packaging materials are reusable, recyclable and/or compostable.
In 2023, we achieved several of our sustainability goals by:
- Eliminating the use of single-use plastic from our shipping packaging completely.
- Redesigned our bottles which now weigh 22% lighter and are made with recycled glass.
We are in the process of planting a permanent wildflower meadow to feed and protect pollinators. In addition, we have planted over 400 native trees (silver birch, hawthorn, scots pine, pedunculate oak, flowering cherry), shrubs and hedgerows to provide small habitats for other wildlife.
We have built a large, dedicated bee bank which will provide a burrow for our native bee species for resting and hibernation.
We are proud sponsors of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), the leading international charity dedicated to the protection of whales and dolphins.
Origin Green is the worlds’ only national food and drink sustainability programme and enables the industry to set and achieve measurable sustainability targets that respect the environment and serve local communities more effectively.
In 2023, Clonakilty Distillery were proud to attain Origin Green Gold Membership.
Companies awarded gold membership are required to demonstrate exceptional annual performance in areas such as raw material sourcing, water and energy efficiency, waste reduction, packaging and social sustainability.
Clonakilty Distillery were awarded several accolades at the Global Drinks Intel ESG Awards in 2023.
This unique Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) awards program aims to recognise the accomplishments of drinks companies which are at the forefront of sustainability.
The distillery was awarded Best Sustainability Marketing Campaign with our initiative, “Our sustainability story is happening now, not in 2050.” We were also highly commended for Best Sustainable Spirits & Wine Products, as well as Best Sustainable Spirits & Wine Producer of the Year.