Whisky maker unveils £3m sustainability project

Wm Teacher's distillery

Beam Suntory, the maker of Teacher’s, Laphroaig and Bowmore Scotch whiskies, has launched a new Peatland Water Sanctuary initiative, a large-scale series of peatland restoration and conservation and watershed conservation projects in Scotland.

The company plans to invest close to £3m in the restoration and conservation of 1,300 hectares of peatlands by 2030, enough to produce the same amount of peat that Beam Suntory harvests every year in making its Scotch whiskies on an ongoing basis. Once restored and conserved, peatland naturally accumulates by 1mm per year, and that 1mm growth spread across 1,300 hectares will equate to Beam Suntory’s annual use. Suntory and Beam Suntory will also undertake new watershed conservation projects at various locations in Scotland. The first Peatland Water Sanctuary project is due to begin near the Ardmore distillery in November 2021, with subsequent projects across other sites in Scotland to follow in the coming years.

Initial works to restore and conserve peatland near the Ardmore distillery are due to commence in November 2021. This initial restoration will be undertaken in partnership with the James Hutton Institute, which is assisting with the research, planning, and execution of the restoration, and Forestry and Land Scotland, which owns the land.

The Ardmore project will be the first in a long-term programme of peatland restoration and conservation and watershed conservation projects. Initial assessments for new projects are already underway on Islay, where Beam Suntory’s Bowmore and Laphroaig distilleries are located, and surveys on potential watershed activities near Beam Suntory’s Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch distilleries are also being planned.

David Hunter, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Beam Suntory commented: “As part of our Proof Positive sustainability strategy, we believe it’s our responsibility to make a positive impact on the environment in which we operate, which is why we are committing to restoring and conserving as much peat as we harvest by 2030, as well as conserving crucial watersheds across Scotland. By protecting peatlands and preserving local watersheds, we will also help to enhance and ensure the production of the highest quality whisky in Scotland for future generations.”

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