Our Goal:

To establish a carbon-neutral distillery by 2030

Rather than embarking on large-scale sustainability initiatives that demand substantial upfront investments, the owners are committed to realizing this goal through the principles of Kaizen—a Japanese term that embodies the concept of making continuous, gradual improvements over time.

The geeky science stuff...

Leveraging his engineering expertise and the talent of the island community, Dorian skillfully designed and built systems to capture, store, and repurpose energy generated throughout the manufacturing process. Holocene boasts a combination of existing systems and those in various stages of planning, poised for both short-term and long-term implementation.

Implemented Systems :

Mash Water Heater

*Mash is the term used for the heated grain concoction created before fermentation has started.

We've implemented a system to optimize our energy usage for each mash batch by harnessing the residual heat from the stills. The cooling system of the stills captures this heat and transfers it through a heat exchanger coil into an insulated water storage tank throughout the distillation process. As a result, the temperature of the holding water rises from its initial 10°C (equivalent to the average groundwater temperature) to a more efficient 50°C. This means that our propane boiler only needs to elevate the water temperature from 50°C to 90°C, as opposed to starting from the lower 10°C, resulting in a significant reduction in overall energy consumption.

Wash Pre-Heater

*Wash is the term used for the mash after fermentation is complete.

Adapting to the system mentioned above, we've implemented a method to preheat the wash within the fermenter by leveraging the cooling jacket of the tank. This involves a simple rearrangement of the cooling system's flow using valves, effectively transforming the fermenter's cooling jacket into a heating jacket. The heat generated from the still from the batch ahead is then efficiently transferred to the completed batch awaiting distillation. As the wash absorbs heat energy, reaching a temperature of 50°C, the excess heat is directed to the water storage heater. As a result, our electric stills only need to elevate the wash temperature from 50°C to 95°C, significantly reducing both the time and energy required for the distillation process.

Geothermal Cooling

We distinguish ourselves from other distilleries by not relying on traditional refrigeration systems to regulate our cooling water temperatures. Instead, we use the earth! Ground temperatures remain consistently cool year-round, beginning at a depth of approximately 3 meters. In our process, we store our cooling water within a substantial concrete cistern located underground. This subterranean environment effectively stabilizes the residual heat absorbed from the closed-loop cooling system, following saturation of the indirect water storage tank.

Processing Waste Onsite

We process out distiller’s waste onsite using a specialized treatment system designed by Trax Developments. It deals with the leftovers from the distillation process which are pretty gnarly - very acidic and full of pollutants. We balance the pH in underground tanks, then sprinkle the waste over bark chips. The tiny micro-organisms get to work and break it all down, fertilizing the ground below. Why? So no nasty stuff gets into waterways, keeping our fish friends safe!

'Green' Labels

Even the smallest steps, like opting for recycled paper for our labels, contribute to our steady progress toward our goal.

In-Progress Systems (0-3 years):

Tracking System

To effectively monitor our sustainability improvements, it's essential to establish a clear progress tracking system. Makes sense, right? Presently, we're in the process of collecting the necessary data to establish a carbon baseline against which we can measure our efforts.

Pellet Fuel

Dorian's passion for pellet stoves ignited while working in the hearth industry, so it was only natural for him to think of pelletizing spent grain as a heat source. The process of making spent grain pellets after the mashing process is intricate, and we've got it partially figured out. Our plan is to use the heat from the grain-powered stove to warm up our space and give an extra boost to heating our water storage tank.

Botanical Garden

Aisling has an exciting plan to create an onsite botanical garden to cultivate the ingredients essential for our gin recipes! We'll grow as much as we can in our garden and even dry the botanicals right here. By producing on-site, we aim to lower our carbon footprint, stemming from transportation for shipping.

Offset Programs

Certain aspects of our business cannot be made carbon-free, and for that we will participate in registered carbon offset programs.

Electric Delivery Vehicle

The time will come when Holocene makes the switch to an electric delivery vehicle for product transportation.

Future Systems (3-6 years):

High-Efficiency Stills:

Our existing stills use a fair amount of juice, eventually we will develop high efficiency equipment to reduce the relative energy demand.

Solar Panels

South facing roof anyone? We’ve got one, and we plan to use it by decorating it with solar panels to supplement our electricity demand.