Beam Suntory, a global premium spirits company, is investing more than $400 million to expand production at its Booker Noe distillery in Boston, Kentucky, which produces Jim Beam®. The expansion will increase capacity by 50%, while reducing the distillery’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the same percentage, through use of anaerobic digesters (AD) that will produce renewable natural gas (RNG) to power the facility. Beam Suntory entered into an agreement with 3 Rivers Energy Partners to build the AD facility across the street from the distillery. Spent stillage will be digested; the biogas will be upgraded to RNG standards and piped directly back to the Booker Noe facility. The digestate will be made available to local farmers, helping to support sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices. 3 Rivers Energy Partners specializes in the design, build, and operations of RNG projects that utilize existing organic waste streams as feedstock for renewable energy sources.
Upon project completion, which is expected in 2024, the Booker Noe distillery will be 65% powered by RNG, and 35% by fossil-based natural gas. “We are committed to making a difference by investing in cleaner technologies and systems,” noted Beam Suntory President and CEO Albert Baladi when announcing the project. “The expansion and significant reduction in GHG emissions from this project does just that with our biggest brand, and helps ensure we meet future demand for our iconic bourbon in a sustainable way that supports the environment and the local community.” The $400 million investment includes land, warehouses, and 51 new local jobs, and enables the distillery to invest in high-efficiency gas boilers to make maximum use of RNG, install scrubbing technology to remove carbon dioxide from fermentation tanks, and following a purification process, facilitate the beneficial reuse of more than 100,000 metric tons of high-purity carbon dioxide annually. The Beam Suntory brands also include Knob Creek®, Basil Hayden® and Booker’s® Bourbons.