Beam Suntory Pioneers Net Zero Whisky Production Milestone with Hydroden

Beam Suntory, a global leader in premium spirits, has reached a significant milestone in its journey towards net zero emissions in whisky production. 

The achievement comes after successful trials at the Yamazaki distillery’s pilot distillery in Japan, where direct-fired distillation using only hydrogen gas was achieved. This groundbreaking trial, known as Project WhiskHy, was made possible through funding from the UK government’s Green Distilleries Competition.

whisky barrel in storage

Direct-Fired Distillation with Hydrogen Gas

Traditionally, whisky production relies on the heat generated by steam coils for distillation. However, the trials conducted by Beam Suntory and Supercritical Solutions utilised 100% hydrogen to directly heat the still. This innovative process eliminates the need for steam coils and instead employs a direct flame, significantly reducing carbon emissions associated with whisky making.

Advancements in Sustainable Technology

Project WhiskHy not only marks a milestone in whisky production but also represents a significant advancement in sustainable technology. Supercritical Solutions, Beam Suntory’s partner in the project, has developed the first ultra-efficient, high-pressure electrolyser. This technology enables distilleries to produce and store hydrogen on-site, powered by local renewable energy sources.

A Commitment to Sustainability

Beam Suntory is committed to pushing the boundaries of green innovation and has set an ambitious goal to achieve net zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2040. Alistair Longwell, Head of Distilling and Environment at Beam Suntory, expressed enthusiasm for the project’s success, emphasising the importance of collaborative efforts in achieving sustainability goals.

“As a company, we are intent on pushing the boundaries of green innovation. We have an ambition to achieve net zero emissions across our entire value chain by 2040, and it is through unique collaborative projects such as WhiskHy that we will get there. We are thrilled to have achieved this new milestone and look forward to continuing our progress with Supercritical as we pursue a more sustainable, resilient future for our industry.”

Suntory’s Legacy of Innovation

For Suntory Spirits Ltd, the parent company of Beam Suntory, innovation has been a core principle since the inception of whisky-making at the Yamazaki Distillery in 1923. 

Katsunori Kurihara, COO of Spirits, Wine Development & Production Division at Suntory Spirits Ltd, stated: “The whisky business embodies Suntory’s philosophy ‘to inspire the brilliance of life by creating rich experiences for people, in harmony with nature’. To coexist with people and nature, and to aspire to produce Suntory Whisky beloved by all, we will work towards a net zero goal while maintaining the quality craftsmanship of our whiskies.”

#### Looking Towards a Sustainable Future

Matt Bird, CEO of Supercritical, praised the engineering prowess and dedication to net zero innovation demonstrated by Beam Suntory throughout the WhiskHy project. He emphasised the importance of ongoing collaboration in driving progress towards a sustainable future for the spirits industry.

Investing In Net Zero Whisky

Beam Suntory’s achievement in conducting direct-fired distillation using hydrogen gas represents a significant step forward in the quest for sustainable whisky production.

The industry as a whole is investing in achieving Net Zero by 2040 and this step continues in the right direction. In recent years we have seen various companies invest in a sustainable future, including:

As the industry continues to develop and change for a more sustainable future investors are seeking to be part of this transformation. 

UKV International AG is a whisky broker that works with its clients to develop their passion for whisky via investments. 

Clients can buy and sell their whisky with UKV whilst utilising our UK government-bonded whisky facility in Edinburgh for storage.