We are the first distillery in Ireland to produce zero energy emissions spirits. Recognising the vital importance of our impact on the world around us, we have replaced fossil fuels and gas – the traditional energy sources for whiskey production – with renewable energy including wind and solar, partnered with high-temperature heat pumps. This is a first for the industry.
We are continuously working to shift the way things are conventionally done while honouring the traditions of our craft. Our sustainability journey started with the restoration of a nineteenth-century mill in the village of Ahascragh. We ambitiously repurposed the historic building to ensure that energy efficiency and renewable opportunities were maximised throughout.
We take pride in the meticulous details that tie the past in with the present, and we are currently working to repurpose the old mill water wheel allowing us to leverage hydro power for the distillery.
Through a novel means of thermal energy storage, combined with optimal heat recovery, our distillery can recycle energy that would normally be wasted. This makes the process more efficient than a conventional design. The innovative system achieves temperatures above 115° – which is a first in Ireland and the UK.
This allows us to achieve a saving of 1690 tonnes of CO2 per year scope 1 and 2 emissions with a 40% reduction in cost over an expected lifetime of 20 years. We are currently working on reinstalling the original mill water wheel onsite and combined with modern hydro technology to integrate hydro-energy scheme.
We are driven by the ambition to change how Irish whiskey and gin are produced by decarbonising the energy process, tightly monitoring our water usage, sourcing local ingredients and using the most sustainable packaging possible. The water we use is sourced from our own two wells on-site. Our fully automated plant, featuring a clean-in-place system, sets us apart in the industry. This system not only measures water usage but also minimises it through automation.
As part of the restoration project, our team has also been working on restoring a number of older buildings adjacent to the old mill. So far we have opened the Old Mill Shop & Café, which continues to be a hub of activity in the area since opening. As well as this, we have other plans in place for further amenities to be added in the near future, breathing further new life into the rural village. With an overall investment of €10 million, we have to date created 30 direct jobs and are supporting more indirect jobs through local supply chains.
First and foremost Ahascragh Distillery is aiming to maintain zero energy emissions for the distillery. Being the first zero energy emissions distillery in Ireland is something we take immense pride in, we have achieved this through an innovative use of heat pumps and renewable energy helping us be as energy efficient and low impact as possible. We strive to maintain this standard going forward.
We are aiming to eliminate plastic seals from our packaging hoping to scale up our use of biodegradable cellulose substitutes instead to provide a fully compostable alternative to plastic on our packaging. Furthermore we are aiming to transition our shipping cases to FSC certified cardboard and use recycled cardboard for any additional neck tags added to the bottles.
We want to support our community by both hosting and sponsoring events that will directly benefit our local community groups. Furthermore we will also be supporting events and causes in aid of women.
Zero energy emissions means that there is no net release of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases during a specific process or activity. It involves minimising emissions through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, or technologies that capture and store emissions.
At Ahascragh Distillery, we produce zero energy emissions as no fossil fuels are used to generate energy on site.
Our sustainability journey began with the restoration of a nineteenth-century mill in the village of Ahascragh. We repurposed this historic building to ensure that energy efficiency and renewable opportunities were maximised throughout.
We secured a SEAI Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland capital support grant as part of their EXEED Programme which has enabled us to integrate energy efficient, sustainable practices through each stage of our production process.
Through a novel means of thermal storage, combined with optimal heat recovery, our distillery can recycle energy that would normally go unused. This makes the process more efficient than a conventional design. The innovative system achieves temperatures above 115° – which is a first in Ireland and the UK. This allows us to achieve a saving of 1690 tonnes of CO2 per year with a 40% reduction in cost over an expected lifetime of 20 years. Additionally, we are working on reinstalling the original mill water wheel onsite to integrate hydro-energy.
We are proud members of Bord Bia’s Origin Green and our distillery has been certified as being 100% powered by renewable energy by Pinergy and Captured Carbon. Furthermore, we have received the following accolades:
Our sourcing policy prioritises sustainable and locally sourced materials as much as possible. Although this often comes with an extra cost, we prioritise the quality and environmental credentials of our packaging.
The UAIS bottle is made from the most eco-friendly materials possible; 100% recycled glass from Spain and recycled paper for the label with a sustainable. UAIS has a biodegradable seal made from the cellulose of sycamore trees that is healthier and more sustainable than the single-plastic alternatives.
Unfortunately, we cannot currently source recycled bottles or biodegradable seals in the quantity we require in Ireland and so we source from companies in the UK, Italy and Spain who prioritise sustainable practices. We have committed to a goal to remove plastic from all of our bottle seals.
All labels are sourced locally from an Irish supplier in Dublin. With hand applied labels, our Xin Gin bottle was designed to be re-used, as it can be transformed into a stylish vase for flowers or candle holder.
All of our merchandise and point of sale materials are sourced within Ireland where possible.
Trusted Partners & Suppliers
Great Northern Distillery
Estal Poligono (bottles & closures – recycled)
Vetro Elite (bottles)
Glass Innovations (bottles)
Viscose (biodegradable seal)
Bomar Aromatherapy (bottles)
JC Ribiero (bottles)
Swansea Enterprise Park (bottle closures)
Polsinelli (bottle closures)
Bottle Jar Store (bottle closures)
JJ O’Toole (packaging)
GPA Global (packaging)
Hsu Bor Colour & Printing (packaging)
In what is as first for the industry in Ireland, our distillery is powered by wind and solar energy driving our very high-temperature heat pumps. We source 70% of our energy from wind through Pinergy with the other 30% of our energy created on-site through solar power.
We worked closely with decarbonisation specialists Astatine LTD to ensure that energy efficiency and renewable opportunities were maximised throughout the distillery.
The technology installed on site has allowed us 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 us to recycle energy that would normally be wasted, 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 (and probably the world – this is currently being verified).
As a result of the process, we aim to achieve a saving of 1690 tonnes of CO2 per year with a 40% reduction in cost over an expected lifetime of 20 years. In future we also aim to use hydro-energy by installing the original mill water wheel in the mill race which runs through the distillery.
While we wait for ‘newborn’ Ahascragh spirit to mature, we have introduced our Family Bond range of hand-selected releases with whiskey and gin sourced from Great Northern Distillery and other distilleries on the island of Ireland. These special releases, although not distilled by us, are partly matured, finished, and blended by us and bottled in our home in the West of Ireland.
We are very conscious of the amount of water which is used in the distilling process and so we have taken every step possible to minimise the volume. This starts with the fact that the water we use is sourced from our own two wells on-site. This will allow us to meticulously measure and monitor our water input and output.
All water treatment processes are conducted on-site, eliminating the need to purchase treated water externally. Our fully automated plant, featuring a clean-in-place system, sets us apart in the industry. This system not only measures water usage but also minimises it through automation. This commitment to efficiency distinguishes us from many distilleries in Ireland, allowing us to significantly reduce our water footprint in the production of spirits.
We take pride in our commitment to supporting local agriculture by sourcing all our grain exclusively from Ireland and prioritising local suppliers. This not only ensures the highest quality in our ingredients but also strengthens our connection to the vibrant agricultural communities in our region.
At Ahascragh Distillery we are producing top quality spirits which can be enjoyed all over the world. We understand that transporting these products will generate travel emissions however and so we opt for sea freight which generates 47 times less greenhouse gases than air freight for transporting our products.
We also aim to do our bit more locally when it comes to travel emissions and so we have invested in hybrid vehicles for our sales team and have installed our own car charger powered by solar panels, contributing to a more sustainable and self-sufficient charging infrastructure.
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