Podcast: Future-proofing Scotch whisky

Supporting the long-term future of Scotch whisky

Scotch whisky is, by its very nature, a long-term industry. Spirit which is put into casks today to mature is often not consumed for another 10 years or more.

The Scotsman, in association with E.ON, recently brought together a selection of experts to discuss how to future-proof Scotch whisky. Highlights of that insightful discussion can be heard in a new Sustainable Scotland podcast.

The podcast, in partnership with E.ON, features the following members of the industry and its supply chain discussing sustainability issues during the panel session at the Scotch Whisky Experience: James Cottrill, director of B2B sales for E.ON; Ruth Piggin, industry sustainability director at the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA); Ronald Daalmans, environmental sustainability manager at Chivas Brothers and Dawn Maskell, director of the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University.

But first, opening the podcast, Simon Duncan, chief commercial officer of E.ON Energy Infrastructure Solutions, explained why he is keen to help support the Scotch whisky industry. He said: “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We believe it is truly on us to make new energy work for our customers, so working incredibly hard and well with the whisky industry is something that's really important to us.”

Dawn succinctly summed up why there has to be a focus on sustainability, saying: “It’s not just important to Scotch whisky, it should be important to us all. It needs to be embedded in everything we’re doing from now onwards, because if we don't we won’t have anybody to sell whisky to, nobody to drink it and we will have nobody to make it.”

Ruth added: “We are an industry that looks to the future because we are laying down spirit now for our consumers in the future.”

In terms of what sustainability means to different people, Ronald said for him it’s about landscapes and natural capital. “We rely on natural resources that will be limited, yet we're a growing sector. We need to be able to show that we're expanding responsibly,” he explained.

Meanwhile, James said: “Distillation is an energy intensive process. The sustainable distilleries of the future are going to be looking at energy efficiency projects and decarbonisation, including technology around wind and solar.”

Commenting on how E.ON can help the Scotch whisky industry, he added: “We want to forge long-term partnerships, and deliver the solutions they need to ultimately get to net zero and deliver their sustainability projects.”