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Falkirk Distillery takes strides to a greener future in circular economy deal

08/03/2023
Left to Right: Dr Johann Partridge (MiAlgae), Rebecca Kean (Falkirk Distillery), Douglas Martin (MiAlgae) and Fiona Stewart (Falkirk Distillery)

A FAMILY-owned whisky distillery in the central belt of Scotland, Falkirk Distillery, has joined forces with innovative biotechnology company, MiAlgae, to drive forward a greener and more efficient whisky industry. 

The deal signifies a milestone in achieving Falkirk’s aim of further reducing its carbon and water footprint with cutting-edge technology implementation. 

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Founded over a decade ago, the independent Falkirk Distillery produces approximately 200,000 litres of spirit per year. 

The new agreement will see Falkirk’s whisky by-products processed at MiAlgae’s commercial demonstrator facility in Balfron, Stirlingshire. Applying MiAlgae’s technology as a circular solution, the by-products will be used as feedstock to grow omega-3 rich microalgae as a nutritious animal feed ingredient –  something which is currently produced by extracting oil from billions of wild caught fish.

Fiona Stewart, Company Director and Co-Founder of Falkirk Distillery, said: “Over the past ten years, we’ve invested everything into setting up the distillery and creating a magnificent, high quality spirit. We’re absolutely delighted to have achieved this goal and now, our next step is to become greener and to strengthen our commitment to the environment by having sustainable values embedded in our company. 

“When we first spoke to MiAlgae, it was a breath of fresh air. We know that they can help us to get where we want to be as we scale up and explore ways to reduce our carbon and water footprint. Whilst we offload our by-products and reduce waste levels, MiAlgae will gain the ingredients needed to successfully manufacture its omega-3 product, so it’s a win-win!”

The partnership between Falkirk Distillery and MiAlgae is now underway. An off-take agreement with transport company Gogar, responsible for transferring all the distillery’s waste products off-site, has been agreed with MiAlgae.  

Discussing their new relationship, Dr Johann Partridge, Operations Director at MiAlgae, said: “Falkirk Distillery fits in perfectly with our strategy and values, so we’re excited to have progressed this agreement with them. What really stands out to us about the Falkirk team is their authenticity. It’s clear that they feel strongly about reducing the distillery’s overall impact on the world, and they operate at the cutting edge of a better and more sustainable whisky industry. 

“It’s great to be working with an independent distillery that truly wants to make a difference, and we’re looking forward to working with them on this impactful project for years to come”

Fiona Stewart said: “We always use the best of the best in our distillery, with yeast and barley, and artesian spring water used throughout our processes. We’re delighted that together with MiAlgae, we were able to get even more out of those precious resources.” 

Anna Graham, Head of Environment, Science & Innovation at the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “Securing a sustainable future is a central priority of the Scotch Whisky industry, and the whole sector is committed to our refreshed sustainability strategy which focuses on four key pillars to tackling climate change across the supply chain: reducing emissions, using water more efficiently, caring for the land, and playing our part in the circular economy. It is always inspiring to see companies’ investment in innovative sustainable solutions that bridge a number of these pillars, such as this collaboration between Falkirk Distillery and MiAlgae, and we look forward to seeing the project’s progress as it moves forward.”

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