Diageo to Invest $190M in Carbon Neutral Canadian Distillery

Diageo Announces $190M Investment in Canadian Whisky crown royal
Diageo's $190M investment in Canadian whisky includes plans for a carbon neutral, zero-waste operation. | Infographic provided by Diageo.

Diageo has disclosed a $190-million investment in a new Canadian distillery to support the growth of the company’s Crown Royal Canadian Whisky brand

The facility, with capacity to produce up to 10.5 million proof gallons annually, will occupy approximately 400 acres in Ontario’s St. Clair Township. Plans include a distillery, plus blending and warehousing operations.

Diageo’s ‘Society 2030:Spirit of Progress‘ sustainability action plan will shape the design and development of this new distillery. The facility will feature resource-efficiency technologies, and will operate with 100% renewable energy, to ensure the site is carbon neutral and zero-waste to landfill from all direct operations, the company says in a release.

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“A low-carbon world is essential for a sustainable future, so I am thrilled to announce our first carbon neutral distillery in Canada as we continue to build momentum in our journey to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030,” says Perry Jones, president, North America Supply for Diageo. “We celebrate such a significant milestone for our Crown Royal brand, our North American operations and global footprint.”

This investment comes as Canadian whisky continues to perform well for Diageo. Canadian whisky contributed 7% of Diageo’s global net sales, while Crown Royal grew 12%, in the first half of fiscal F22, according to the company’s financial reporting.

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“Crown Royal is the heart of our whisk(e)y business, as the most valuable whisky brand. It’s critical when we extend our footprint, that we are committed to creating a more sustainable world,” says Sophie Kelly, SVP of whiskies, Diageo North America. “We are thrilled by this new world-class distillery. It will enable us to drive momentum to 2030 and beyond to elevate Crown Royal as a best-in-class whisky brand that leads innovation in the industry.”

Canadian whisky contributed 7% of Diageo’s global net sales, while Crown Royal grew 12%, in the first half of fiscal F22, according to the company’s financial reporting.

The new Diageo St. Clair Distillery will supplement the company’s existing Canadian manufacturing operations in Amherstburg, Ontario, Gimli, Manitoba and Valleyfield, Quebec. Once operational, this new facility will provide dozens of jobs in the local community.”

Construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2022, and the distillery is expected to be operational in 2025.

Diageo has committed to reaching net-zero carbon across its direct operations by 2030, harnessing 100% renewable energy. The company will also work to achieve net zero carbon across the entire supply chain by 2050 or sooner, with an interim milestone to achieve a 50% reduction by 2030.

As part of this effort, in North America, Diageo announced plans to transition its Valleyfield manufacturing site in Quebec, Canada to become carbon neutral by 2025. The company also opened its first carbon neutral whiskey distillery in North America in Lebanon, Kentucky, to support Bulleit Bourbon.

On a global scale, three of Diageo’s distilleries in Scotland — Brora, Royal Lochnagar and Oban — have achieved carbon neutrality, while the company announced recently that it is also building a carbon neutral whisky distillery in China.

Diageo is also part of a group of organizations that are members of the United Nations Global Compact, We Mean Business Coalition and other global advocacy organizations. Diageo is a signatory to the global Race to Zero campaign, a commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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