Irish whiskey Association publishes sustainability roadmap

The Irish whiskey industry intends to lead the way in making Ireland the home of the world’s most sustainable distilleries and whiskey brands, according to the Irish Whiskey Association which today launched a new roadmap for how the industry will reduce its environmental and carbon impact, strengthen its role in the regenerative and circular economy and deliver a positive impact for communities.  


As Irish whiskey is of one of Ireland’s leading all-island industries, the new roadmap is being supported by state agencies both North and South.

As Irish whiskey is of one of Ireland’s leading all-island industries, the new roadmap is being supported by state agencies both North and South.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Senator Pippa Hackett, officially launched the roadmap at Tullamore DEW in Ballard, Tullamore, County Offaly.

A range of measures outlined in the new IWA roadmap entitled Irish Whiskey Sustainable Together includes:

  • reducing water usage– supporting the principle of ‘less-water-in, less-effluent-out’ and setting a target of reducing the volumes of water used per litre of whiskey distilled. The IWA and Irish Water have agreed plans to deliver bespoke, accredited Water Stewardship training days for distilleries
  • supporting Irish farming– the industry purchases over 100,000 tonnes of Irish barley and malt annually and the roadmap commits to buying even more from Irish farmers
  • supporting the circular economy every year over 350,000 tonnes of co-products from Irish whiskey production (spent grain/pot ale) are reused to become high-quality animal feed and the roadmap commits to strengthening Irish whiskey’s place in the circular economy
  • energy efficiency– the roadmap proposes signature projects to support innovation on energy efficiency within the industry. This will involve members sharing Best Practice on energy efficiency and will include state agencies and key stakeholders to support implementation
  • tree planting– the IWA has nominated Trees on the Land as its all-island tree-planting partner, allowing members to fund tree-planting – which will be comprise at least 50% Oak trees – through a consistent expert programme
  • all-Ireland Pollinator Plan– the Association has signed-up to support the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and will work with the AIPP to support members to implement actions on distillery and maturation sites.


“The roadmap is about an industry working together and sharing knowledge with a shared ambition to make Ireland the home of the world’s most sustainable distilleries,” said IWA Director William Lavelle, commenting on the roadmap’s launch today, “We’re committed to minimising the life-cycle environmental impact of our production practices and our supply chains while maximising our support for Irish farming and local suppliers.

“This roadmap will actively support the delivery of national climate targets. Some Irish whiskey distilleries will reach net-zero very quickly and through the knowledge transfer projects set-out in the roadmap we will support all distilleries to make the transition, particularly the two-thirds of our members who’re SMEs.

“This is not just an environmental strategy,” he continued, “The roadmap also addresses the importance of economic and social sustainability. People and place have been at the heart of Irish whiskey’s renaissance and our industry is proud of how we support communities and local economies across the island of Ireland.”

Economic and Social Sustainability

The roadmap outlines how the growth of the Irish whiskey industry in recent years has supported both urban regeneration and rural communities. Key points include:

  • the Irish whiskey industry’s support for urban renewal and rural regeneration by creating high-quality jobs in communities across Ireland
  • vacant buildings in 17 towns and villages across Ireland have been re-purposed for the development of distilleries
  • a newly-completed assessment by Fáilte Ireland for the IWA found that visitors to distilleries in 2019 spent €63 million in local communities.
  • while the Irish whiskey industry has historically been male-dominated, the roadmap includes a new assessment carried out by the Association showing that the gender split across the industry is now 63% male, 37% female.


All-island support

As Irish whiskey is one of Ireland’s leading all-island industries, the new roadmap is being supported by state agencies both North and South.

For more information on the Irish Whiskey Sustainable Together roadmap, visit



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