Monday, January 05, 2009

Green Whisky?

So reports The Observer: Scotland's distillers rush to slake world's thirst for whisky:
"At the same time the distillery - financed by drinks conglomerate Diageo - has been built to stringent ecological standards, emitting only a fraction of the carbon dioxide produced by standard distilleries. Roseisle will be Scotland's first green distillery.

'Apart from emitting only 15 per cent of the carbon dioxide of a standard distillery of the same size, we have found a way to recycle all the water that passes through the Roseisle site,' the distillery's designer, Mike Jappy, said last week. 'The important point is that this technology could one day be used at distilleries around Scotland.'

The idea of making whisky in an ecologically friendly way could be crucial if the industry is to expand to meet the demand for Scotch. In 2007 overseas sales rose by 8 per cent on the previous year, accounting for 25 per cent of all Britain's food and drink exports. The first nine months of this year saw a further 10 per cent increase."

***

Distilleries usually burn oil to distil fermented brews of malted barley and water. Roseisle will also burn the dried remains of its basic barley ingredient to generate that heat, halving its fuel bill.

In addition, liquids left over from distilling - known as top ale - will be piped into anaerobic fermenters to generate methane. This, in turn, will be burned to provide further heat. The distillery will be linked with two existing local maltings, where its waste water will be used to dampen and germinate the barley that is eventually used as its basic ingredient. This will mean there will be no overall increase in water consumption when the new distillery comes on line.

Which brings to mind a line I read years ago in book by Julian Symons. It was something about the poverty of someone's imagination. Americans once had a can-do attitude. Eight years of Bush and conservative government, it seems that attitude is on life support. Surely, someone else can see in the preceding paragraphs several ideas for businesses or business/government partnerships over here, even back home in Indiana.

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