Craft Spirits July 2021

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Big Spring’s road to LEED certification is partially thanks to a bit of serendipity, according to proprietor Kevin Lloyd. Before opening in the Match Factory (a building dating back to 1900), the distillery worked with an engineer on some sustainable initiatives to recover heat from the distillation process. The engineer introduced his wife to Lloyd, noting that she worked on LEED certification with large companies and Penn State University. The result is a LEED Gold-certified distillery that is energy efficient, and the distillery works hard to reduce waste, recycle post-consumer disposables, and reuse whatever it can. Lloyd says the process to achieve the certification wasn’t difficult. Mainly, it required a lot of record keeping and working closely with the general contractor. “I think it was very beneficial for us,” says Lloyd. “We think it was the right thing to do. And that’s why we did it.”

not only reclaim heat but reclaim heat from cooling. … Basically, cooling is heat rejection. So they’re able to recapture that energy from the heat rejection which a chiller is just like a big air conditioner. By recapturing that energy in addition to the other energy that we recapture, we’ll be able to get to net zero.” Marble also takes pride in its Water Energy Thermal System (WETS) which captures and reuses the water and heat generated in the distilling process. The system allows Marble to save more than 4 million gallons of water annually, capturing 1.8 billion BTUs of energy, or enough to power 20 homes. To put it another way, Baker says, Marble needs just one liter of water to make one liter of Marble vodka. Consumers take note of those types of

initiatives, says Baker. “We have built a really loyal following of people who care about the planet, believe in climate change, don’t want to stop drinking and are now aligned with Marble,” says Baker. “I’ve had hundreds of people say, ‘I’m never going to drink another vodka. Why should I? This vodka tastes great and you’re doing it the right way. I have children and I want to leave a nice planet behind. I’m going to buy your vodka.’” ■


BEYOND CERTIFICATIONS The previously mentioned certifications represent a drop in the bucket of existing organizations that are helping to make a greener world. And there are countless more initiatives distilleries are practicing, whether it’s producing organic spirits or getting creative with recycling. For every bottle it sells, Los Angelesbased Greenbar Distillery plants a tree with Sustainable Harvest International. At Bently Heritage, all of the distillery’s spent grain and processed water are sent to compost on the land where the distillery grows its grain. Montpelier, Vermont-based Caledonia Spirits—makers of Barr Hill gin and vodka—helps build bee habitats through its Bee’s Knees Week campaign. And when Minneapolis-based Tattersall Distilling recently announced plans to open a production facility in River Falls, Wisconsin, it also revealed that it is working with upcycled ingredient company, NETZRO, to become the first distillery in the country to commercially upcycle spent grain for human consumption. Marble Distilling Co. of Carbondale, Colorado, also has its sights set on an ambitious sustainability goal. In February the distillery, which also runs the on-site Distillery Inn, announced its intent to become a netzero electricity facility by the end of 2022. That will be possible thanks to a growing array of solar panels and by moving to heat pumps. “We have been able to realize that we can get there by removing our chiller and installing heat pumps rather than a chiller,” said Marble co-founder Connie Baker. “So the heat pumps


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