Our Sustainability Goal

When Deerness Distillery was founded, we had firm aspirations of how we wanted our business to operate. As well as how our products are developed, packaged, and distributed in a way to protect our environment for future generations, including our children.

This is our story so far:

The Past:

Our Building:  To withstand the windy weather of Orkney we constructed our distillery from galvanised steel and concrete. But we also used Kingspan® cladding. Kingspan® is made of high quality phenolic foam, which is free of CFC (chlorofluorocarbons) and HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) and has an ozone potential depletion of zero. For more information on CFC’s and HCFC’s head to Chlorofluorocarbons and Ozone Depletion – GeeksforGeeks.

Our lighting is all LED (light emitting diode), which improves our overall energy usage and their environmental benefits also extend because of how they are manufactured.  LED lights do not contain mercury like many traditional lighting sources and therefore don’t need to be specially disposed of when they are replaced.

We use air source heat pumps for our heating source.  These systems emit about 70% less CO2 than an electric heating system and up to 20% less than a gas boiler.  They can also reduce carbon emissions by more than 23 tonnes over a decade, which is good news for businesses like us looking to reduce our carbon footprint.

The Present:

Our Spirits: Right from the beginning our intention was to grow as many botanicals as we can for our gins. Back in 2019 we had our polytunnel built and for several years now we have grown our own botanicals. It is hit and miss sometimes with the weather and the pests, including having to hen proof the polytunnel!  But when our botanicals are growing beautifully, we use them as much as we can and in doing so help reduce our carbon footprint. This year we’re growing our French tarragon, our unique base herb, lavender flowers, citrus fruits, rosemary, lemon verbena and cucumber, to name just a few. We collect rainwater from our distillery building into an IBC (intermediate bulk container) that used to hold our NGS (neutral grain spirit)

Our Packaging: When we first started our business, we couldn’t source glass bottles from the UK, but now we can! We’re proud to use British manufactured glass bottles, paper labels and aluminium tamperproof seals (which are already recycled), all of which can be recycled in your domestic recycling.  When we post out our bottles to you it’s important to us that our sustainability journey continues.  Our cardboard packaging and tissue paper are already recycled and you can recycle them both in your normal recycling along with the paper tape 😊

Our Carbon Footprint:  We work hard to reduce our carbon footprint wherever possible, and it is tracked and calculated by our financial institution each month.  So far during 2023 our average usage is 216kg CO2 per month.  In comparison the average for the rest of the UK in July was 1058kg CO2.  To help reduce the impacts of climate change, scientists recommend that by 2030 we should aim to reduce our carbon footprints to around 180kg CO2 per month (Cogo, 2021) So we think we’re doing pretty good! 

The Present: Our Staff

Our business could not function without our fabulous staff!  We endeavour to make Deerness Distillery sustainable for its staff by doing the following: Creating a positive work environment. This means providing a safe, healthy, and supportive work environment where employees feel valued and respected. We pay our staff the Living Wage Scotland, this is above the government minimum wage and accurately reflects the cost of living. Head to scottishlivingwage.org to find out more. We actively supporting our staff’s well-being and encourage a work-life balance.  We actively discuss managing stress, how to improve the health of all of us, and how we can all achieve a work-life balance! We regularly offer our staff training and development opportunities that will help them learn new skills and feel positive about their roles. Giving back to the community. We support local charities and community organisations, and all get involved in community activities when we can 😊.

The Future: Cycling

We are excited to announce that have received a loan of three e-bikes from Cycling UK (www.cyclinguk.org) from August 2023 for three months. We are now able to offer our staff and visitors the opportunity to borrow them to cycle to and from work, or for the day to explore and enjoy all that Deerness has to offer.  If the e-bikes prove popular we will look to invest in our own for the distillery that staff and visitors can use in future.

Within our expansion plans is our ambitious, but achievable goal of taking all the distillery buildings, existing and future, as well as our house buildings ‘off-grid’ utilising a biogas system.  

The Future: Biogas

Biogas systems have the following benefits:

They can provide a renewable source of energy for heating and electricity.

They can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, is produced when organic matter decomposes in landfills. Biogas systems can capture this methane and use it as a fuel, which helps to reduce methane emissions into the atmosphere.

They can help to manage organic waste. Organic waste, such as food scraps from our café and malting process can be used to produce biogas. This helps to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills, which can help to protect the environment.

Fertilizer: The digestate that is produced by a biogas system can be used as a fertilizer. Digestate is a nutrient-rich liquid that can be applied to local farmers crops to help them grow. This can help to reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizer that is used, which can benefit the environment.


The Future: GTA

We are also working towards our Green Tourism Award (GTA). The awards certification programme recognises the commitment of tourism businesses who are actively working to become more sustainable and are recognised worldwide as an indicator of good environmentally friendly practice.  The following are some of the areas that we must meet certain criteria, energy use, water use, waste management, sustainable procurement, and community engagement.

And finally ….

We will continually review all our systems and processes to ensure that we are as sustainable as possible in our distilling processes and maintain our sustainability commitment to our staff and community.  Watch this space for more…