Bombay Sapphire and new Biomass Boiler

Its renovated Laverstoke Mill distillery makes use of renewable energy from spent botanicals.

The Luxonomist. 11/03/2015
Bombay Sapphire
Bombay Sapphire in La Mamounia Hotel, Marrakech. Make clic to know more

Bombay Sapphire gin exercises its ability to «waste not, want not», as the Bacardi-owned brand makes sure nothing is squandered at its new distillery at Laverstoke Mill. Sustainability is literally all in a day’s work at the distillery and brand home, tucked away in the picturesque English countryside, as slightly less than a ton of spent botanicals from just one day’s worth of gin-making provide the renewable energy needed to power one of its stills.

From the beginning, plans created to redevelop Laverstoke Mill were ambitious, but followed the Bacardi Limited «Good Spirited» global sustainability initiative, a campaign across all of the Company’s brands and operations to reach the company-wide vision of a net-zero impact on the environment. The Bacardi Good Spirited credo strives to improve sustainability within three main areas: responsible sourcing, global packaging and operational efficiencies.

With no effort too large or small, Bombay Sappire looked for ways to increase the brand’s sustainability during the renovation project. The use of the leftover exotic botanicals as renewable energy is just one of the many ways the facility does its part to fulfill the Good Spirited net-zero impact goal. Across all its brands, Bacardi has already reduced both nonrenewable energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 28%.

Botanicals Bombay Sap
The use of the leftover exotic botanicals as renewable energy. Click on image to view video

The entire Bombay Sappire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill property is a model for industrial sustainability. In fact, BREEAM, the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings, dedicated the prestigious 2014 BREEAM Industrial Award to the distillery. BREEAM gave the renovation project the highest marks for the lowest possible environmental impact, as the organization cited the use of renewable materials and the low-carbon energy the biomass boiler provides.

The massive project required an epic deconstruction and reconstruction of the historical Georgian and Victorian architecture on site, which is protected by law. What’s more, the entire property and the River Test that cuts through it are government-regulated as they hold Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designation. As such, painstaking and meticulous reconstruction efforts busied teams as they carefully devised plans to return the former paper mill, with strong historic ties to the British Empire, to its former glory.

Crews made every effort to salvage materials like bricks, windows and fixtures, to ensure that the renovation remained historically conscious and conservation-minded. With that spirit, the eco-conscious design included a very simple funnel shoot from the infusion room to collect the used gin botanicals in the bed of a small utility truck, so the organic matter could be trucked over, with a 30-second drive, to the biomass boiler, which will burn any suitable organic matter. Spent juniper berries, lemon peels, grains of paradise, coriander, cubeb berries, orris root, almonds, cassia bark, licorice, and angelica are burned with other organic matter to create the immense heat needed to distill the world’s No. 1 premium gin by value.

Bombay Sapphire
Bombay Sapphire

«The redevelopment of Laverstoke Mill was no easy task and required a substantial upfront investment, but none of it was wasted. BOMBAY SAPPHIRE will reap the rewards of equally substantial dividends in the form of long-term sustainability, and reduce waste and energy consumption for future generations to come», says Nik FordhamBOMBAY SAPPHIRE Master Distiller.

Building on current programs and efficiencies that reduce water and energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, the Bacardi Good Spirited platform reinforces the Company’s years of leadership in corporate social responsibility – and sets specific, new goals in three vital areas:

  1. Responsible Sourcing: Bacardi strives to obtain all raw materials and packaging from sustainably sourced, renewable or recycled materials while maintaining or enhancing the economic status of growers and suppliers. By 2017, the goal is to obtain 40% of the sugarcane-derived products used to make BACARDI premium rums from certified, sustainable sources – and 100% by 2022. This pledge from Bacardi is an industry first.
  2. Global Packaging: Bacardi commits to use eco-design to craft sustainability into its brand packaging and point-of-sale materials. By 2017, Bacardi plans to reduce the weight of its packaging by 10% and achieve 15% by 2022. Bacardi collaborates with its partners to make packaging more environmentally friendly.
  3. Operational Efficiencies: Bacardi continues to focus on reducing water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a 2017 goal to cut water use by 55% and GHG emissions by 50%. The Company further seeks innovative treatments for water left over from production. In addition, Bacardi aims to eliminate landfill waste at all of its production sites by 2022.

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