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Kwasi Kwarteng: Great whisky that doesn’t cost the earth? Raise a glass to that

The Uist Distilling Company, which plans to build a £6.5 million whisky distillery at Gramsdale on Benbecula, is among businesses set to benefit from government green energy funding.
The Uist Distilling Company, which plans to build a £6.5 million whisky distillery at Gramsdale on Benbecula, is among businesses set to benefit from government green energy funding.

This Burns Night let us raise a toast as the ‘King o’ Grain’ goes green!

For over 500 years, the golden nectar of Scotch whisky has conjured up romantic images of the Highlands and Islands for many – it is no wonder that Scotland’s national drink has a huge global fan base. In fact, every second, 42 bottles of Scotch whisky are shipped to 175 countries around the world.

UK energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng

While this Scottish industry may be synonymous with tradition and the past, it has been at the forefront of modernisation for hundreds of years.

Whisky distilleries across Scotland are getting into the spirit of the green industrial revolution, ensuring people can enjoy their favourite tipple without it costing the earth – literally.

From today, 11 distilleries from the Uist Distilling Company on the Isle of South Uist and John Fergus & Co Ltd in Glenrothes to St Andrews Brewers in Glasgow will each receive up to £75,000 from the UK government to help us build back greener.

This is just the first phase of a new funding pot totalling £10 million to help kickstart projects with the aim to develop the world’s first completely low-carbon distillery sector.

Green distilleries across Scotland have already cut greenhouse gas emissions by 34% in the last decade, and using new technologies such as low-carbon hydrogen, biomass and repurposed waste will help cut them even further.

Today’s new funding will build on their success and ensure new technologies are being developed and tested, helping prevent pollution equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.

Not only that, the projects will create new jobs across Scotland, support local businesses and communities, and drive forward the UK’s ambitions to build back greener ahead of the UN climate change summit, COP26, in Glasgow this year.

Every industry needs to reduce their carbon emissions and help the UK meets its commitment for net zero emissions by 2050.

The Scotch whisky industry is at the vanguard of this truly national effort by finding innovative ways to power production, transport fuel and develop greener storage technologies for a more sustainable future.

I’ll raise a dram to that!


Kwasi Kwarteng is Minister of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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