Earth Day takes place on April 22nd each year, bringing the environmental cause to the fore by highlighting emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. Many whisky distilleries across the world have implemented systems that keep sustainability in mind, such as committing to using locally grown barley, reducing their carbon footprint via transportation and pledging to become carbon neutral in the next couple of decades. Here are just a few of the distilleries that have gone above and beyond in their mission for sustainable whisky production, and commitment to protecting our environment.


One of the largest distilleries in Scotland, Tomatin, was named 'Sustainable Distillery of the Year' at the Whisky Magazine's Icons of Whisky Awards in 2023. In their many efforts to support a low-carbon economy, they have installed their own environmentally efficient wood pellet steam boiler. The wood pellets used are manufactured in Invergordon by carbon neutral company, Balcas, using renewable energy and raw materials from local forests (where two trees are planted for each one harvested). Additionally, they send their draff (a resultant from the mashing process) to a biogas plant in order to generate a green sustainable fuel, which is then in turn fed into the mains gas network. As a result, 80% of their production process is fuelled using biomass energy!


As an Origin Green member, sustainability is very important to new Irish distillery, Teeling. Wherever possible, the distillery sources sustainable raw materials, and have implemented some very fruitful sustainable processes. This includes the installation of a rainwater harvesting system, the use of an onsite well to reduce water consumption and using the excess energy produced during the whisky production process to heat their visitor centre. In addition, they collect all of their spent grain (the dry waste left after the removing the fermentable sugars from the grain), to be used as feed for cows across Ireland.

Maker's Mark

Maker's Mark is the largest distillery in the world to receive a hard-won B Corporation Certification, recognising the company for their sustainability endeavours. This achievement is the culmination of the distillery's mission to “Make Your Mark. Leave No Trace”. At their home on Star Hill Farm in Louisville, Kentucky, they grow 86% of their corn and wheat onsite, draw their water from two lakes on the land and gain energy from solar panels atop their warehouse. In addition, as oak barrels can only be used once in bourbon production, they replant white oak trees on site to replenish what they take. Of course, many of the barrels used to mature bourbon are also shipped to Scotland and recycled in the production of Scotch whisky. Finally, every part of a bottle of Maker's Mark is fully recyclable - even their famous red wax seals. They recently partnered with How2Recyle to melt it at a lower temperature, with a lower paraffin content.


New Danish kids on the block, Stauning, also hold sustainablity near to their hearts. As a distillery founded by nine friends with no knowledge of whisky making (and very little funding), they have utilised a reuse & recycle attitude since the beginning. They started with barley from a local farmer, peat from a nearby museum and they milled using an old meat mincer in their abandoned butchery home. After growing somewhat, they have implemented wind and solar power at their new building, use locally grown barley and heather, forage peat from nearby bogs and continue to use natural minerals and processes wherever possible to minimise their environmental impact.


Highland favourites, Glengoyne, have been granted a slew of awards in the past few years for their sustainability efforts, from the likes of The Spirits Business and The Whisky Magazine. They were the first distillery to adopt a wetlands facility to manage their liquid waste in C02-capturing reed beds, filtering out anything that would disturb the delicate balance of the local burn. In addition, the wetlands have become home to 14,500 plants, providing a haven to local wildlife. What’s left of the solid waste is then exchanged to make enough energy to power 354 homes every year. The distillery also gains 100% of its electricity from a power turbine and maintain beehives onsite!


Located in a remote location on the West Coast of Scotland, this new Highland distillery was founded in 2017 with sustainability at the centre of their plans. They use solely certified organic Scottish barley, and power their two copper pot stills using a biomass boiler fuelled by woodchip from the local forest. Every tree harvested is then replanted. Any electricity needed is sourced from their green energy partners, Engie - a low carbon energy supplier. Any waste produced is used as fertiliser, and even natural cleaning products are used for their bar, office and loos! Finally, the resulting whisky is bottled in a 100% recycled clear glass bottle - a first for Scotch. These efforts make Nc'Nean a fully certified net zero distillery.

To learn more about Earth Day, click here.