Jim Beam increases bourbon production in a $400 million push for renewable energy

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Bottles of Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey are on display at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, January 30, 2020.

Noriko Hayashi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Beam Suntory said Wednesday it aims to produce more Jim Beam bourbon while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The company, which is owned by Japanese parent Suntory, said it would invest $400 million in renewable energy systems while boosting bourbon production at its largest distillery in Kentucky.

The Booker Noe distillery in Boston, Kentucky, will see capacity increase by 50% to meet growing demand for its bourbon, the company said Wednesday. It also plans to reduce the distillery’s greenhouse gas emissions by the same percentage.

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The company said it will supply the facility, about 56 miles south of Louisville, with renewable natural gas, an upgraded, methane-heavy biogas.

Beam also said it has entered into an agreement with 3 Rivers Energy Partners to build another facility across the street to transfer and convert waste. The process will use a high-quality, low-cost fertilizer, which the company says will also be made available to local farmers.

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“This expansion will ensure we can sustainably meet future demand for our iconic bourbon that supports the environment and the local community that Jim Beam helped build and sustain,” said CEO Albert Baladi.

The project is expected to be completed in 2024. By then, the company said the Booker Noe distillery will be powered 65% by renewable natural gas and 35% by fossil natural gas.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear told the The Bharat Express News that the project will create dozens of additional jobs in the state and expand manufacturing facilities and storage. Kentucky is home to 95% of the world’s bourbon production, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. The state is considered the birthplace of bourbon.

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For the first half of 2022, Beam Suntory reported global net sales growth of 13%. It saw growth in the United States and abroad in the Asian and European markets as demand for spirits remained strong.