- The alcoholic drinks sector requires a great deal of energy and water to produce beverages.
- Some firms are developing buildings that harness both technology and renewable energy.
From beer and wine to whiskey and vodka, alcohol is big business. And while many of us enjoy the odd tipple now and again, the sector requires a great deal of energy and water to produce the beverages people drink.
As concerns about sustainability grow, some firms are developing buildings that harness both technology and renewable energy.
Earlier this week, Diageo announced that a whiskey distillery being built in Kentucky was "expected to be carbon neutral."
In a statement issued Monday, the drinks giant listed a number of features that it hopes will boost the sustainability of the distillery and its operations.
These include: The facility running on 100% renewable electricity; the use of LED bulbs indoors to boost energy efficiency; and all vehicles operated there being electric.
Electricity for the development will be sourced through what Diageo described as "long-term contracts with the local utility" that will enable it to buy "zero greenhouse gas emission electricity from certified renewable sources."
In addition, interior lighting within the site's warehouse will use technology that "will only activate during loading or unloading activities," while electrode boilers will be used instead of fossil-fuel fired ones.
"Diageo's commitment to renewable power is a laudable one as manufacturing is historically a carbon-intensive process," Gregory Wetstone, the president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, told CNBC via email.
"It would be great if every drink served in America was renewably-sourced," he added.
"If we're going to have any chance at mitigating the harmful impacts of climate change, we're going to need to see a significant acceleration in the deployment of renewable energy and enabling grid technologies nationwide."
Diageo's development of a production site focused on sustainability is not unique among major drinks manufacturers.
In January, the world's largest brewer, AB InBev, signed a deal with renewable energy developer BayWa r.e that will see the drinks giant buy 100% renewable electricity for its brewing operations in Europe.
Back in the U.S., toward the end of last month, Fort Worth-based Acre Distilling announced it had partnered with Circle L Solar to develop what it described as "the first completely solar-powered distillery in Texas."
Construction on this project, which will see solar panels installed on parts of the Acre Distilling estate, is expected to finish this month.