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Beam Suntory unveils US$400M expansion

Beam Suntory unveils US$400M expansion
Beam Suntory Inc., will invest more than US$400 million to expand production at its Booker Noe distillery in Boston, Kentucky (KY), which produces its "Jim Beam" brand of spirits (photo courtesy Beam Suntory).

Beam Suntory Inc., a world leader in premium spirits, will invest more than US$400 million to expand production at its Booker Noe distillery in Boston, Kentucky (KY), which produces its "Jim Beam" brand of spirits. This expansion will increase capacity by 50 percent, while reducing the distillery’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the same percentage, through the use of anaerobic digestors (AD) that will produce renewable natural gas (RNG) to power the facility.

According to a statement, Beam Suntory, a subsidiary of Japan-headed Suntory Holdings Ltd has entered into an agreement with 3 Rivers Energy Partners to build a facility across the street to convert spent stillage into biogas which will be upgraded into biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG) standards and piped directly back to the Booker Noe facility.

The digestors will also produce a high-quality, low-cost fertilizer, which will be made available to local farmers, thereby supporting sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices.

Upon project completion, which is expected in 2024, the Booker Noe distillery will be 65 percent powered by RNG, and 35 percent by fossil-based natural gas.

We are committed to making a difference by investing in cleaner technologies and systems, and the expansion and significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from this project do just that with our biggest brand. This expansion will help ensure we meet future demand for our iconic bourbon in a sustainable way that supports the environment and the local community that has helped build and support Jim Beam, said Albert Baladi, President, and CEO of Beam Suntory.

Beam Suntory’s investment was first announced by the State of Kentucky through a series of economic incentive grants, made in July 2022, including the US$400 million investment to increase capacity, build warehouses, and create new jobs.

Carbon capture and utilization

3 Rivers Energy Partners (3RE) specializes in the design, build, and operations of RNG projects.

The company works to provide renewable energy solutions for organizations by utilizing existing bio-waste streams as feedstock for renewable energy sources.

Our goal is to help Jim Beam create a sustainable future for their company and the planet. With this process, we will create new renewable energy, and help sustain the agriculture needed to create their products. It is truly a full circle sustainability approach, said John Rivers, CEO of 3 Rivers Energy Partners.

In addition to capacity expansion, the investment includes land, warehouses, and 51 new local jobs.

Further, this project allows the distillery to invest in high-efficiency gas boilers to make maximum use of RNG, use scrubbing technology to remove carbon dioxide from fermentation tanks, and following a purification process, facilitate the beneficial reuse of more than 100 000 tonnes of high-purity carbon dioxide (CO2) annually.

As consumers around the world continue to discover bourbon, we want Jim Beam and our commitment to sustainability to be part of that discovery. I’m so proud to be honoring our legacy as the First Family of Bourbon by leveraging this renewable energy to support our brand’s trajectory for the next 225 years, said Carlo Coppola, Managing Director of the James B. Beam Distilling Co.

Beam Suntory invests more than US$500 million every year to make bourbon in Kentucky.

The company recently completed a US$60 million transformation of the James B. Beam Distilling Co.’s homeplace in Clermont, KY, including a new and elevated visitor experience, inclusive of the full Beam family of brands like Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, and Booker’s Bourbons, the Fred B. Noe Distillery, and the Kitchen Table restaurant.

I want to once again thank the leadership at Beam Suntory for this commitment to growing the Booker Noe Distillery in Nelson County. The dozens of jobs this project is creating will benefit so many families in Central Kentucky, and the company’s continued growth reflects the strength of our state’s signature bourbon industry. Congratulations to everyone involved with this significant investment. I could not be more excited to see what’s next for Jim Beam Brands in Kentucky, said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

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