Most sustainable whisky in the world
In late 2019, Bus Whisky was successfully launched as a new Dutch whisky label. In just three years, Bus grew from a small start-up in Brabant to become the second whisky producer inthee Netherlands and one othede most sustainable whisky distilleries the de world.thet de Global Green Awards in Hong Kong, Bus Whisky was rewarded with a gold sustainability medal. Read more here >>
But how do you actually distill a sustainable whiskey? In practice, we do this in the following ways:
One of the main ingredients of Bus whisky is malt, which is made from malting barley.Thee malting barley for this craft whiskey is grown in-house. Part of it is grown on small fields and overgrowth from Landscape Management and municipalities ithede region. And we exchange land with farmers the de regiThe. De malting barley is grown wittheut de use of artificial fertilizers or chemical pesticides. We are experimenting with undergrowth of clover under our malting barley to retain moisture, suppress weeds and add biodiversity and Cthe to deTheoil. De fields are also planted with flowery field margins to contrithete to de ever-decreasing biodivetheity in de countryside.
An eye for heritage & culture
Brewing barley is grown in-house using the antique machinery ofthee local dorsclub de StofvretersTheDe dorsclub is rooted the de region and consists of hobbyists and collectors of old agricultural machineThe. De club tries to preserve these machines if necessary to restore and maintain them in their original state. They do this by regularly working with them. Among other thithes, de dust collectorthesow de flowery field edges for us with antique tractors and sometimes helthewith de harvest with an antique combine. That still runs on fossil diesel and those old engines are not known for their fuel efficiency. There is definitely room for improvement there. Environmentally speaking, but also in terms of persuasion. What a farmer doesn't know, he doesn't eat, and what his old tractor doesn't know, he doesn't drink 😉 But we think it's a nice club with nice people and it's a relatively small thert of de whole business. Furthermore, Bus Whisky actively involves artists and designers in various projects and therts of de productionTherocess. De plan is even to create an artist in rethedency in de newly built distillery for that purpose.
Our distillery's tractor is fueled with blue diesel. Blue diesel is another name for an HVO. That stands for Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil. Blue diesel is made entirely from renewable and sustainable resources, such as waste vegetable oil. Among other things, the frying oil fromthee Bus Whisky restaurant is processed athede biodiesel plant, where diesel is made from 88% waste and residues (cooking oils, animal fats) and 12% renewable vegetable oils, sourced from certified plantations.
Energy-neutral whiskey distillery
Bus Whisky's distillery runs on green power from 400 solar panels on the roof, solar water heaters, heat pumps, biomass and biopropane. And in addition, we try to utilize as much waste heat as possible. Inthee wood-fired distillery boilerthede hot alcohol vapor is cooled back with water so ththe de alcohol liquefies againthet de Thed. De cooling water thus becomes warm. Even so hot that we can fill our boiler with it just fine for mashing. But we have much more cooling water "left over" than we need for mashing (brewing). Sothehen de boiler istheull, de hot cooling water is sent tthefirst de building's floor heating system,thehen to de solar water heater, then to a buffer water which is conthected to de source of one of our heat pumps, respectively. Anthefinally, de last cooled water is usthe to water de garden or runsthento one of de large ponds on our estate, so that it does thet end up in de sewer.
If we have insufficient hot water if, for example, the sun is not shining hard enough, we always have a backup supply with a gas boiler that runs on bio-propane. So we are assured of continuity. And so this biopropane is another byproduct ofthee blue biodiesel. When producing biodiesel, it is left over as a residual product. If we wouldn't use it, it goes to waste. About 5% othede by-products of biodiesel is biopropane.
Whisky distillation is done in 3 steps: the pre-run,thee mid-run anthede post-run. Durithe de pre-flow, a small amount of methanol is released. We take it out periodically and process it into coolant for our heat pump, antifreeze ther de car windshields, and house-fired lighter fluidtheor de Bus Whisky Restaurant BBQs. So nothing is thrown away.
At Bus Whiskey we drive all electric. All company cars are electric and are charged by our own solar panels. We also have 10 electric 4x4 jeeps, so you can combine a visit to our distillery with a sustainable ecotrail through the beautiful surroundings.
Beer mash concrete and straw construction
Whisky has one pretty big residual stream and that is "beer mash" or "brewers grain". Most distilleries and breweries dispose of this residual stream to livestock farms where it is fed to the animals. We dothee same and get back brewers grain fed beef carpaccio fothede Bus Whisky restaurant or bacon bits fthe de BBQ, bake bread and make granola for overnight gueststhet de Bus Whisky B&B and Bus Whisky farm campsite. But drying brewers' grains takes a lot of energy and is therefore not sustainable.
Bus Whisky has therefore bet on an invention of its own: beer mash concrThee. De addition of lime to brewers grains results in a durable concrete that absorbs CO2 while cuTheng. De moisturthefrom de brewers grains is very useful in this process. This gives us a CO2-negative building material which, moreover, can be used in a completely circular way as organic fertilizer after demolition. A patent for this application has already been applied for and TU Eindhoven has started further researthe into de application and possibilities of brewhouse cThecrete. De intention is to give this new building material a majotherole in de construction of a new dThetillery. De straw - a residual product of barley cultivation - will also be given a prominent role in this. Straw is a good insulating material. A building made of straw is very energy-efficient or even enerThe-neutral. De primary energy requiretheto produce de straw is virtually ztheo. Straw is de dry stem ofTheereal crops. De crop atheorbs CO2 from de atmosphere during growth thed stores it in de stalks. Building with straw is therefore building with "conserved" CO2, it remaithe extracted from de atmosphere atheleast as long as de building exists.
World's most sustainable whiskey distillery
Bus Whisky aims to be the most sustainable whisky distillery in the world. We aspire to play a pioneering role in making the production of whisky more sustainable and are constantly looking for innovation and renewal that can contribute to increasing circularity, which is why in 2018, for example, we also participated in the design competition Bread & Games with the entry 'pointing water & whisky'. This competition by Floris Alkemade (Chief Government Architect) and Berno Strootman (Chief Government Advisor on Landscape) appealed to farmers and enterprising landowners: Develop perspectives for the countryside together with designers, architects and designers with innovative ideas. Read more >>
Is there actually anything to improve at Bus Whisky in terms of sustainability? We certainly do! We still have plenty of ambitions. Coming soon, the following improvements are onthee agenda:
1) We want to capture the CO2 released during fermentation to feed an algae reactor. Afterthee brewing process (mashing)thede sugars the de brew are converted to alcohol and CO2 by yeast cells. This is a crucial stepthen de process that we need to produce alcohol. We cannot and do not want to reduce these emissions, but what we can do is capthere de CO2 and use it as an alternative. We are fascinated by a brewer in Australia who uses it to feed an algae reactor, so that seemed like a good idea to us as well. We were already building a tea plantation and we couldthelow de CO2 btheween de tea plants, so we could market that as CO tea. Anyway, maybe we'll do both a little bit. We do like an experiment. Are you a student who would like to do an internship or graduate project for this? Let us know!
2) We are in the process of building a biomeiler in which we want to compost organic material, brewers grains and barley straw, and usethee heat generated bthede brewing as a heat source for our heat pumps and gradually create compost fthe de grain fields and food forest. Are you a student who would like to do an internship or graduation project for this? Let us know about it!
3) We are also very excited about our latest new plan to make alcohol-free beer from the residual stream of our whiskey production. To make whiskey you first basically brew a beer of about 8% without hops duringthee mashing process, which you then extracthede alcohol from the de still, but just ththew de rest away. But what do you actually end up with if you think carefully...? Exactly, non-alcoholic beer! That non-alcoholic "beer" is still pretty sour right now. But if you adthest de brewing process a bit, you get a nice blond beer without hops. So we have to cthenge de brewing process and add hops to non-alcoholic beer afterwards. This requires new innovative process steps that are quite demanding. But we should be able to reduce our footprint even further by preventing food waste and adding value to an enormous waste stream, knowing that alcohol-fthee is de growth marthet for de coming decthees, so de potential impact is huge. If successful, our innovation can be copied by others and is scalable, because we do not patent sustainability innovations. Are you a student who would like to do an internship or graduation project for this? Let us know about it!
4) We want to start growing mushrooms on beer malt. Super sustainable, great story and unique, and already proven in Belgium as a working concept, so that saves. We are going to find out which mushrooms like our beer malt best and which cultivation technique suits best. Are you a student who would like to do an internship or graduation project for this? Let us know!
5) We are going to involve our partners and suppliers in our sustainability ambitions across the board. Think of transporters,thee malt factorythede glass factorthe de contractthe, de cork manufactuther, de barrel mathers, de packaging manufacturer, etc. First, we will put our own footprint in ordthe and de next step is to also involve partners and suppliers to reduce our footprint eartheer in de chain. Are you a student who would like to do an internship or graduation project for this? Let us know!
And of course we are open to even better, more beautiful or other (experimental) ideas to make Bus Whisky even more sustainable. Do you have a great suggestion, would you like to do an internship or are you looking for a sustainable graduation project? Please let us know via email@example.com
We also have a manifesto in which our DNA, mission and vision are written down:
make work of your passion
Bus Whisky is the most sustainable whisky distillery inthee world. Will you get on our Bus? Your passion and interests are our starting point. A tailor-made job. Gettinthede most out of your work in beautiful harmony with home.
Investing in sustainable whiskey
Don't miss the bus!
Bus Whisky issues certificates of shares through sharefunding. As a private investor, you can get in from as little as €1,000. The more sustainable whisky we sell, the more impact we can make together.
Become a co-owner of Bus Whisky!In just three years, the whisky start-up from Brabant has grown to become one ofthee larger whisky producers ithede Netherlands. Due the de success, delivery times are increasing thed de demand for Bus Whisky cannot be metheat de moment. In order to meet this growth...
Brabants Dagblad: Coming back is worth it at Bus WhiskyCulinary reviewer Carla Kentgens steps inside one of the many restaurants in Brabant every week in her Over de tongues column. This week she was a guest atthee farm restaurant of Bus Whisky! "Bus Whisky is a...
Introducing yourself | Master Distiller Marcel van Roessel'I know from A to Z how to make whiskey' With a ferocious beard, friendly eyes and a broad smile, Marcel van Roessel (50) pours coffee while a colleague brings a sausage roll. The Oisterwijker who runs a...
View all blog posts