Irish distillery plants 2,000 trees in sustainability push

A total of 1,000 oak and 1,000 native broadleaf trees are being planted this week in Meath’s Preston estate by drinks firm Boann.
Irish distillery plants 2,000 trees in sustainability push

By Dominic McGrath, PA

Staff at a Co Meath distillery are helping to plant 2,000 trees as part of a new sustainability drive.

Family-run drinks firm Boann is getting into the environmental spirit with a major green initiative to offset the use of wooden barrels to age its whiskey.

A total of 1,000 oak and 1,000 native broadleaf trees are being planted this week in Meath’s Preston estate, whose family have historic links to the world famous Preston’s of Drogheda, Co Louth, operators of a whiskey bonding business for almost a century from 1886.

And the initiative is set to become an annual one.

Only three to four barrels can be made from a suitable tree and Boann lays down 6,000 barrels annually to allow its whiskey to mature.

“We choose to work only with coopers that source their wood from sustainable sources,” said Sally Anne Cooney, co-founder and sustainability lead at Boann Distillery, based outside Drogheda.

“Cask maturation is an essential part of the whiskey making process.

“We cask our newmake spirit into oak barrels from around the world and this new planting of trees will contribute to close the loop on our barrel sustainability programme in the new circular economy, while also helping to reduce our carbon footprint into the future.

“This is the start of ongoing plans to make a more sustainable distilling future for Irish Whiskey.

“We are a family business and look to the long term in everything we do, protecting the environment for the next generation is paramount.”

The Meath distillery aims to plant a further 2,000 trees annually in the coming years, all of which will be protected and allowed to grow to maturity.

Boann has already been rewarded for its environmental activities, becoming the first distillery in Ireland to be awarded Bord Bia Origin Green Gold member status in 2020.

Reducing water usage, moving to exclusively renewable energy sources, rainwater harvesting and supporting local grain supply are some of the key measures it is adopting to promote sustainability within the industry.

Planting of the final trees coincided with the distillery winning a major award for the world’s best single grain whiskey.

It clinched top prize for its Whistler Mosaic Marsala Cask at the World Whiskies Awards in London last Thursday night, its fourth “world’s best” gong in the awards.

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