CASK FORCE; THE DAILY RECORD LAUNCHES ITS GREEN AWARDS CAMPAIGN TO HELP FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING: Whisky Distillery Leads the Fight against Climate Change with Its 'Clean and Green' Philosophy The
Byline: Brian McIver
IT'S the industry built around the water of life. So it makes sense that a whisky company should be one of the leading lights in the fight against climate change in Scotland.
The small but perfectly formed Bruichladdich distillery on Islay is one of the first nominees of the first ever Daily Record Scottish Green Awards.
The new event is being staged later this year to recognise exceptional achievements and efforts in the fight for the environment, in terms of organic production, renewables, recycling, waste reduction and efforts to make everyone's carbon footprint as small as possible.
Backed by energy company ScottishPower, the Scottish Green Awards reward individuals, companies, community groups, schools and hospitals who have shown initiative and exceptional work in the bid to go green.
One of the first nominees for the awards is the Islay distillery Bruichladdich.
The small distillery in theWestern Isles was reborn eight years ago when the formerly mothballed premises were taken over by new management, and since then, the whisky label has grown from strength to strength.
The firm has 46 employees and sells its luxury whisky to almost every country in the world. One of the main reasons for its success has been the firm's unofficial motto - Clean and Green.
The team have revitalised the local community through a drive to get local farmers growing barley, so they can source the vital ingredient for the spirit as locally as possible. Their sourcing policies are so clear that they are able to trace every drop of whisky back to the acre the barley was originally farmed on.
The company have also opened up the first bottling plant in the iconic whisky-producing island's history, use local spring water and are engaged in energy saving, recycling and conservation strategies that have made them among the leaders in the green whisky drive.
The Bruichladdich Master Distiller Jim McEwan said that the organic, transparent and environmentally responsible approach was one of the most important factors in the firm's recent revival and success.
He said: "The modern consumer likes traceability, likes to know the name, and we call tell you the name of the farmer and go into the field where the local barley comes from.
"Local sourcing was very much at the front of our minds when we re-opened, and we wanted it to have as much Islay DNA and spirit as humanly possible. When we started there were no farmers growing barley on the island for whisky distillers, not since the 1960s, so we approached farmers, got some interested and they came on board. Now there are up to 12 farmers producing barley for us, and 45 per cent of our barley requirement comes from Islay."
The organic sourcing is one of the most successful strategies the company has pursued in terms of green working, but they have further reduced their carbon footprint, in terms of haulage and transportation fuel and cost, by becoming the first distillery on the island to bottle themselves.
Jim said: "We also decided we would bottle all our whisky on the island rather than sending it away while it is maturing, so we invested in a small bottling plant here - there has never been one on the island before.
"So that has also been good for the island.We're the biggest employer on the island, even though we are the smallest distiller, and that's because of the way we do things.We like people to make the whisky, so you can feel the pulse of the island, the human input.
"The whole area of Rhinns, where we are based, has been lifted by the work we do, and everybody who works for the company is a shareholder."
The company have been entered for the Best Green SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) award, and their nomination includes praise for the way they have championed local organic produce, and reduced oil consumption by 17 per cent. …