Case study - Burn Stewart

01 Dec 2012

Deanston Distillery in Doune, which is part of Burn Stewart Distillers, combines Scotland's engineering heritage with industrial reinvention, showing that renewable energy and sustainability are not new to the Scotch Whisky making process.

Established in 1966, Deanston Distillery, producer of the hand-crafted Deanston Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, occupies a former cotton mill on the banks of the River Teith. It has achieved the rare status of being self-sufficient in electricity, with power generated by the on-site hydro-energy facility.

The system, driven by the fast running water of the Teith, was introduced in the 18th Century to drive the world's first water-powered spinning frame - an invention by the mill's original designer, Richard Arkwright. At 36 ft 6 inches in diameter and 11 ft wide, Hercules, one of four colossal waterwheels powering the mill from 1833, was the largest water wheel in Europe and the second largest in the world.

The wheels were replaced with two turbines in 1937 which produce a combined output of 400kW.

By 1965, changes in the world market for cotton forced the closure of the mill but it was converted for use as a distillery, reopening nine months later in 1966.

Burn Stewart Distillers bought Deanston in 1990 and committed to retaining and developing the hydroenergy capacity of the distillery. The original turbines are still fully functioning. Modern switchgear equipment was installed but the original 1937 switchgears remain. They may be viewed as part of Deanston's new Visitor Centre experience charting the social and industrial history of the site from 1785 to the present day. The two turbines produce on average 48,000kWh a week. Depending on production levels, the Distillery uses 10 - 14, 000kWh a week with the surplus energy being exported to the national grid.

On average, Deanston delivers 1,300,000kWh pa of hydro-generated electricity to the national grid every year. This is enough energy to power 394 homes all year, based on average usage.

The hydro-energy project at Deanston Distillery is managed by the Wemyss Development Company. Burn Stewart Distillers Limited is a fully integrated Scotch Whisky producer and brand owner with three single malt whisky distilleries and a strong portfolio of Scotch Whisky brands.