Diageo has announced that its new Kentucky whiskey distillery – currently under construction – will be the firm’s first carbon-neutral distillery in the US.

Located in Lebanon, Kentucky, the site is expected to be fully operational in 2021. The facility will be powered by 100% renewable electricity, with a capacity to produce up to 10 million proof gallons of whiskey per year.

The new facility will employ several electrode boilers as an alternative to fossil-fuel-powered boilers, and 100% of the steam used onsite – for the cooking, distillation and drying process – will be generated by the electrode boilers.

Diageo announced plans for the $130 million facility in 2018, and the new site will have the capability to distil a variety of bourbon and American whiskey brands. Bulleit will be the first and lead brand produced at the new distillery – supplementing existing production at The Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

Perry Jones, president of North America Supply for Diageo, said: “As a company, we know that our long-term sustainable growth depends on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.

“This groundbreaking undertaking to electrify our operations and then power them with renewable electricity will result in one of the largest carbon-neutral distilleries in North America.

“This is a significant step to strengthen our commitment to minimising our carbon emissions and will result in an important reduction of Diageo’s environmental impact on a global level.”

Sophie Kelly, SVP whiskies, Diageo NA, added: “For Bulleit, our passion for sustainability began when we built the Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelbyville, where we focus on reducing carbon emissions, water conservation and waste management during production.

“Then, when we opened our Visitor Experience there, we chose to implement practices like eliminating single-use plastics from our bar and sourcing locally-grown organic cocktail garnishes from our onsite garden.

“Our commitment to the environment evolves with the Lebanon distillery, where no fossil fuels will be consumed for the production of Bulleit. This allows us to really begin to double down on our ambition to reinvent category standards.”