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Firing Up Sustainability: The WhiskHy Breakthrough

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April 11, 2024

In a landmark collaboration that marries tradition with innovation, our recent partnership with Beam Suntory has marked a significant milestone in the whisky industry. At the heart of this achievement is the successful trial at Suntory's Yamazaki distillery in Japan, where 100% hydrogen was used in direct-fired distillation for the first time in whisky production.

This triumph is part of the 'WhiskHy' project, a visionary endeavour that we at Supercritical Solutions are proud to lead. Supported by the UK government's Green Distilleries Competition, this project not only aligns with our mission to revolutionise green technology within industry but also showcases our commitment to a sustainable future.

The innovative trial demonstrates the potential of green hydrogen as a viable fuel source, reducing carbon emissions to zero in the distillation process. This approach not only preserves the cherished method of direct-fired distillation, known for its ability to enhance the depth and quality of the spirit, but also sets a new standard for environmental responsibility in whisky production.

Central to this initiative is our proprietary technology, an ultra-efficient, high-pressure electrolyser designed for on-site hydrogen production and storage, utilising renewable energy sources. This breakthrough is a pivotal step towards our goal of making green hydrogen both accessible and economical.

Our partnership with Beam Suntory, a company committed to its own sustainability goals through its Proof Positive strategy, illustrates the power of collaboration in driving forward the green agenda. Beam Suntory's ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across its value chain by 2040 complements our innovative efforts, showcasing a unified front in the pursuit of sustainability.

As we celebrate this milestone, we recognise that this journey is a collective effort, supported by visionary partners, the UK government, and the wider spirits community. Together, we are not only crafting exceptional whisky but also forging a legacy of innovation, sustainability, and shared commitment to a greener, more sustainable industry.

Katsunori Kurihara, COO of Spirits, Wine Development & Production Division at Suntory Spirits Ltd: “Ever since we began whisky making at the Yamazaki Distillery in 1923, we have been striving to craft with a relentless pursuit of perfection and persistent innovation. The whisky business embodies Suntory’s philosophy ‘to inspire the brilliance of life by creating rich experiences for people, in harmony with nature’. To coexist with people and nature, and to aspire to produce Suntory Whisky beloved by all, we will work towards a net zero goal while maintaining the quality craftsmanship of our whiskies.”

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, comments: “After visiting Supercritical last year and seeing their exciting technologies first-hand, I am thrilled they have reached this new milestone alongside Beam Suntory – with the potential to kickstart a new clean green whisky industry. By backing the project with £2.9 million in government support, we are helping businesses seize the opportunities of hydrogen and cut their emissions on the journey to net zero.”

Alistair Longwell, Head of Distilling and Environment, Beam Suntory, adds: “As a company, we are intent on pushing the boundaries of green innovation. We have an ambition to achieve net zero emissions across our entire value chain by 2040, and it is through unique collaborative projects such as WhiskHy that we will get there. We are thrilled to have achieved this new milestone and look forward to continuing our progress with Supercritical as we pursue a more sustainable, resilient future for our industry.”

Matt Bird, CEO, Supercritical comments: “The WhiskHy project at Beam Suntory's renowned Yamazaki distillery has been a testament to the engineering prowess and dedication to net zero innovation within the group. This landmark trial not only marks a significant stride in hydrogen fuel advancement but also sets the stage for ongoing progress and collaboration. Our partnership with Beam Suntory is poised to remove the premium of green hydrogen, leveraging our cutting-edge technology for a sustainable future.”

About Beam Suntory

As a world leader in premium spirits, Beam Suntory inspires the brilliance of life by delivering great consumer experiences through its world-class portfolio of brands. Known for its craftsmanship of premium whiskies, including Jim Beam®, Maker's Mark®, Basil Hayden® and Knob Creek® bourbons; Japanese whiskies, including Yamazaki®, Hakushu®, Hibiki® andToki™; and leading Scotch brands including Teacher's, Laphroaig® and Bowmore®, Beam Suntory also produces leading brands such as Courvoisier® cognac, Tres Generaciones®, El Tesoro® and Hornitos® tequila, Roku™ and Sipsmith® gin, Canadian Club® whisky, and is a world leader in ready-to-drink cocktails, with brands like -196 and On The Rocks™ Premium Cocktails. A global company with approximately 6,000 employees in more than 30 countries, one of Beam Suntory's core values is Growing for Good and through its Proof Positive sustainability strategy, the company has committed to ambitious goals and investments to promote environmental sustainability in its operations, ensure the company has a positive impact on the communities where employees live and work, and programs to educate and inform consumers to make the right personal choices about drinking. Headquartered in New York City, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan. For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit and

About the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero provides dedicated leadership focused on delivering security of energy supply, ensuring properly functioning markets, greater energy efficiency and seizing the opportunities of net zero to lead the world in new green industries.

The Green Distillery Competition is part of the Department’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio which provides funding for low-carbon technologies and systems and aims to decrease the costs of decarbonisation helping enable the UK to end its contribution to climate change.

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