IRISH WHISKEY GOES GREEN IN 2022
- Ahascragh Distillery is on track to produce some of the first truly zero-emission spirits in Ireland this year
- Eco-distillery powered by renewable energy solar, hydro and very high temperature heat pumps will also be first zero-emission distillery in Ireland
- Ahascragh Distillery being supported by €500,000 SEAI funding
- All civil works completed and stills will be installed in October and distilling will commence in December after commissioning the plant
- Some 30 people are working on construction on the project and a further 20-40 will be employed when the distillery begins production.
Ahascragh Distillery is on target to be the first eco-distillery of this scale in Ireland. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is supporting the development of the distillery, with capital support of €500,000. Located in the heart of the small East Galway village, the previously derelict mill complex is being transformed, and the company is gearing up for distillation by the end of the year. Founders Gareth and Michelle McAllister have a drive to distil some of the first zero-emissions spirits in Ireland and change the traditional energy source for Irish whiskey production.
Ahascragh Distillery was recently granted €500,000 capital support to complete construction of the eco-distillery and visitor experience. The funding is being awarded to the company through SEAI’s EXEED Programme, aimed at organisations who are planning an energy efficient investment project.
Ahascragh Distillery engaged FDT Consulting Engineers and Project Managers Ltd. to undertake an energy efficient design review of the proposed distillery in Ahascragh. Decarbonisation specialist Astatine developed and installed the technology that has delivered substantial reductions in the utility demands of the distillery through a novel means of thermal storage, combined with optimal heat recovery within the process.
Some key features of the new distillery:
- The peak heating and cooling demand has more than halved
- Unlike other distilleries in Ireland, the heat delivered to the distillery will not require the combustion of any fossil fuels, and will utilise green electricity
- Heat will be provided to the distillery through heat pumps which means that there will be no flue related emissions, or impacts on the local environment
- The heat pump design, heat recovery and thermal storage means that the electrical demands of the distillery are a third of traditional technology
- The building itself has been protected with much of the original machinery and wooden beams being restored and reused.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said, “Ireland’s first eco-distillery is an innovative example of what all Irish industry should be considering to cut cost and carbon at the same time. Electrification of our heat will be at the cornerstone of reducing costs and our carbon emissions in the years ahead. We are making great progress at the residential level, but industry needs to catch up and high-temperature heat pumps like the one being deployed at Ahascragh Distillery are exactly what we need. This is proven technology across Europe and we have a huge potential to use it here, particularly in the food & beverage sector, so I am delighted to see SEAI supporting Ahascragh to work with FDT and Astatine to deliver the first truly zero-emission spirits distillery in Ireland.”
Founder and Managing Director, Gareth McAllister said “We are delighted that SEAI have recognised this energy efficient design and are providing capital support to help realise the project. Ahascragh Distillery will be the first eco-distillery of this scale in Ireland to be powered by renewable energy, and will produce some of the first zero-emission Irish spirits. It is our ambition to make Irish whiskey production more sustainable and environmentally friendly. We are excited to be making whiskey history in the West of Ireland.”
SEAI’s Chief Executive Office, William Walsh said “SEAI are at the heart of an energy revolution and are delighted that Ahascragh Distillery chose to apply the EXEED Energy Efficient Design process to this new distillery at a historic site in Galway. The EXEED process allows significant energy users to go beyond design norms and ensure that energy efficiency and renewable opportunities are maximised at the earliest stage of a project. This project will demonstrate exemplary practices in terms of utilising renewable heating in a high temperature application. SEAI commend Ahascragh Distillery and their partners on this progress and look forward to seeing the distillery in operation, providing a showcase for renewable energy within the region”
CEO and co-founder of Astatine Tom Marren said, “Astatine is honoured to partner with Ahascragh Distillery to deliver what we believe may be the first distillery in the world without a chimney! Our engineers have designed a revolutionary new system that will cut operating costs and cut carbon emissions. Together, we are leading an exciting evolution in Irish industry that will enable large energy users to transform their how they power their businesses. Astatine delivers sustainable solutions that are unique and designed to the individual needs of each client but which deliver the exact same result – lower energy bills and lower carbon emissions.”