SEAI Energy Awards 2023
Ahascragh Distillery wins ‘Innovative Renewable Energy Deployment’ category at SEAI Energy Awards

Ahascragh Distillery is thrilled to announce an exceptional achievement – taking home a prestigious award for the Innovative Deployment of Renewable Energy at the 2023 Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland Awards. This accolade recognises the founders dedication and ingenuity in leading the way to decarbonising the energy source for the distilling industry.

The annual SEAI Awards recognise and reward excellence in sustainable energy in business, communities, research, buildings, renewables and the public sector. Over the last two decades awards have celebrated success, leadership, and ambition in sustainable energy. Nestled in the village of Ahascragh in the heart of County Galway, the newly renovated mill which houses Ahascragh Distillery produces zero energy emissions as fossil fuels or gas are not used to drive the production process. This is a first for the industry. Through the innovative use of wind and solar energy combined with high temperature heat pumps, Ahascragh Distillery founders Gareth and Michelle McAllister have changed the way whiskey and gin are made in Ireland.

Ahascragh Distillery was granted €500,000 capital support to complete construction of their eco-distillery and visitor experience in the West of Ireland. The funding was awarded to the company through SEAI’s EXEED Programme. The EXEED process allows significant energy users to go beyond design norms and ensure that energy efficiency and renewable opportunities are maximised. Working with FDT Consulting Engineers, Project Managers Ltd and decarbonisation specialists Astatine to develop and install the technology has allowed the Ahascragh team to deliver substantial reductions in the utility demands of the distillery, through a novel means of thermal storage, combined with optimal heat recovery within the process.

This has enabled the distillery to recycle energy that would normally be rejected, making the process more efficient than a conventional design. The innovative system achieves temperatures above 115° – which is a first in Ireland and the UK. As a result of the process, this allows Ahascragh Distillery to achieve a saving of 706 tonnes of CO2 per year with a 40% reduction in cost over an expected lifetime of 20 years.

Distillery Founders Gareth & Michelle McAllister, expressed their gratitude for their dedicated team that have played an instrumental role in achieving this remarkable feat, saying, “Winning this award is a testament to the passion and commitment of our team at Ahascragh Distillery. We are deeply honoured to receive this recognition, and it motivates us to continue on our mission to decarbonise Irish whiskey and gin production.”

Gareth McAllister remarked “Not only does cutting carbon emissions make environmental sense, but it makes economic sense too. As a result of implementing these processes and efficiencies, we have seen a reduction in our energy bills by 30-40%.”

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