Source: The KY Standard Editorial Board
April 6, 2018
While a vital local economic resource, the distilling industry doesn’t always get high marks when it comes to the impact it makes on local environmental resources.
Jim Beam, the top bourbon-producer in the world, aims to change that by reducing its environmental footprint through a partnership with its neighbors at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.
The limestone water that is abundant in Kentucky is critical to the bourbon-making process. Despite common misconceptions, you can make bourbon anywhere in the country. Of course, it won’t taste right without Kentucky’s limestone-filtered water, fed from rich underground aquifers.
Beam and Bernheim are doing what they can to help preserve this resource, recently announcing a one-year agreement to “protect water quality, restore wildlife habitats and reintroduce native plants and trees,” according to a press release. The partnership will create a natural water sanctuary on the Bernheim grounds, focusing on protection of the Long-Lick and Wilson Creek watersheds.
Efforts such as this are not new to Suntory Holdings, which owns Jim Beam. The company has established 20 similar natural water sanctuaries in its home country of Japan. Freddie Noe, eighth-generation Beam master distiller, said the whiskey maker has a long history of care and concern for one of the world’s most valuable resources — clean water — and its importance not just to the health of the whiskey business, but of all the flora and fauna who depend on that resource for survival.
We applaud these efforts by Beam and Bernheim, and would encourage other distillers to investigate opportunities to reduce their environmental footprint in this, and other, manners. One of the country’s largest spirits producers, MGP in Lawrenceburg, Ind., is taking just such a step with its recent announcement it would be using 100 percent wind energy for their electrical needs.
Let’s hope more follow suit.