John Dewar & Sons New State-of-the-Art Site Blends Industrial Innovation with Environmental Sustainability

Eco-friendly, energy-efficient complex meets the global demand for Scotch whisky
Sep 15, 2015 7:05 AM ET

Hamilton, Bermuda, September 15, 2015 /3BL Media/ – John Dewar & Sons Ltd., one of the most respected, global Scotch whisky producers, now turns out its top-end spirits in a state-of-the-art blending facility. As part of the Bacardi group, the Poniel Blend Centre & Maturation Warehouse facility in central Scotland combines industrial innovation with environmental sustainability. 

The 100-acre site currently includes 18 warehouses. Each can hold up to 72,000 storage casks where award-winning DEWAR’S® WHITE LABEL®, WILLIAM LAWSON’S® Blended Scotch, and ABERFELDY® Single Malt Scotch whiskies mature for flavor and smoothness.

The project is part of a US$500-million investment in Scotch whisky production by Bacardi. The Scotch Whisky Association views long-term demand as positive – though overall, exports declined in the first part of 2015.

The blend center features new technology to enhance water addition, mixing, and control spirit strength, as well as energy-efficient conveyers that transport casks from station-to-station on pallets. The system – outfitted with controls to ensure the worker safety – also enables the movement of whisky between sites in tankers instead of traditional wooden casks. This reduces annual carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 metric tons – equivalent to keeping more than 400 cars off roadways. The entire operation runs with just 24 employees, most hired from the local community.

“Cutting-edge accomplishments at Poniel reinforce the essence of our forward-thinking vision and organic growth,” says Iain Lochhead, Operations Director for John Dewar & Sons Ltd. “We recognize how important it is to preserve and protect the natural resources that exist in the places where we operate. Caring for the environment is at the heart of our corporate heritage.”

Prominently dotting the landscape are 130,000 newly planted trees and shrubs. These plantings, guided by the Scottish National Heritage, are part of a larger sustainability commitment made by John Dewar & Sons Ltd. and Bacardi to protect and sustain the Scottish environment.

“In our business, there’s real passion about sustainability. It’s something we think about from start to finish in our processes,” adds Lochhead. “We’re doing good work in Scotland that’s effecting real change. It’s important for our eco-savvy consumers to know that we take great care in selecting and preserving the natural ingredients we use in making our great tasting Scotch whiskies.”

Another environmental focus on the site is water management. A sustainable urban drainage system – known by its acronym of SUDS – safely routes rainwater to a retention pond and provides onsite wetlands for wildlife.

“This is a beautiful, natural locale and home to many different indigenous species of mammals and birds. We want to nurture and develop their habitats,” says Debbie Briody, Poniel Site Manager, for John Dewar & Sons.

The word whisky is derived from the Gaelic language meaning “water of life.” The blended whisky produced by John Dewar & Sons is made from natural ingredients that draw on Scotland’s clean water and fine grains. The maturation process takes a minimum of three years.

The public’s traditionally strong and now rapidly growing interest in Scotch whisky is evident in popular culture, with several top-rated primetime television series showcasing the spirit as the adult beverage of choice. “Whisky has been popular for hundreds of years – and will remain so for many hundreds more,” says Lochhead.

The blending facility is part of a broad scope of sustainability initiatives for the Company, producers of DEWAR’S® Blended Scotch whisky, WILLIAM LAWSON’S® Blended Scotch whisky and the single malt brands of ABERFELDY®, AULTMORE®, CRAIGELLACHIE®, THE DEVERON® and ROYAL BRACKLA®.

As part of the Bacardi group of companies, John Dewar & Sons honors the spirit of sustainability with these benchmarks at its five malt distilleries:

  • 34 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2006
  • 46 percent reduction in water use since 2009
  • 30 percent reduction of waste to landfill since 2010

Since 2006, when Bacardi began tracking its global impact on the environment, it has reduced nonrenewable energy use by nearly 28 percent and decreased its greenhouse gas emissions from production by more than 28 percent. Building on current programs and efficiencies that reduce its environmental impacts, the Bacardi Limited “Good Spirited” sustainability program sets specific goals in three areas to help reach its vision of a net zero impact:

  1. Responsible Sourcing: Bacardi strives to obtain all raw materials and packaging from sustainably sourced, renewable or recycled materials while maintaining or enhancing the economic status of growers and suppliers. By 2017, the goal is to obtain 40 percent of the sugarcane-derived products used to make its rum from certified, sustainable sources – and 100 percent by 2022. This pledge from Bacardi is an industry first.
  2. Global Packaging: Bacardi commits to use eco-design to craft sustainability into its brand packaging and point-of-sale materials. By 2017, Bacardi plans to reduce the weight of its packaging by 10 percent and achieve 15 percent by 2022.
  3. Operational Efficiencies: Bacardi continues to focus on reducing water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a 2017 goal to cut water use by 55 percent and GHG emissions by 50 percent. In addition, Bacardi aims to eliminate landfill waste at all of its production sites by 2022.

To learn more about Bacardi Limited and its “Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future” environmental initiative for sourcing, packaging and operational efficiencies across the entire Bacardi family of premium spirits and wine brands, visit

About John Dewar & Sons Ltd. 
John Dewar & Sons Ltd. employs 300 people at seven locations throughout Scotland. The Company currently operates whisky distilleries in Aberfeldy, Macduff, Aultmore, Craigellachie and Nairn with ageing, blending, bottling and packaging facilities in Glasgow and additional maturation facilities in Poniel in Central Scotland.

DEWAR’S® Blended Scotch whisky, the world’s most-awarded blended Scotch; WILLIAM LAWSON’S® Blended Scotch whisky, the world’s second fastest growing Scotch; and the single malt brands of ABERFELDY®, AULTMORE®, CRAIGELLACHIE®, THE DEVERON® and ROYAL BRACKLA® are part of the portfolio of Bacardi Limited, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda.

About Bacardi Limited
Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, produces and markets internationally recognized spirits and wines. The Bacardi brand portfolio comprises more than 200 brands and labels, including BACARDÍ® rum, GREY GOOSE® vodka, DEWAR’S® Blended Scotch whisky, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, MARTINI® vermouth and sparkling wines, CAZADORES® 100% blue agave tequila, and other leading and emerging brands including WILLIAM LAWSON’S® Blended Scotch whisky, ERISTOFF® vodka, and ST-GERMAIN® elderflower liqueur.

Founded 153 years ago in Santiago de Cuba on February 4, 1862, family-owned Bacardi manufactures its brands at 29 facilities and sells in more than 160 countries. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited.

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