Fierce Whiskers Launches World’s First Carbon-Negative Bourbon
The Austin distillery is releasing 257 carbon-negative bottles from Barrel #47 in a limited release.
In its first limited-release rye whiskey, Fierce Whiskers is releasing 454 carbon-neutral bottles from Barrels #255 and #270.
In 2021, Fierce Whiskers (FW) published its first sustainability report, quantifying environmental impacts from the start of operations in 2020 through the spring of 2021, demonstrating the importance of taking action even prior to the bottling and distribution of product. Now, more than a year after opening the distillery to the public, and following the release of the first carbon-negative bourbon in October 2022, FW is launching its first rye in a limited release of 454 bottles. This carbon-neutral rye, called Smoke + Mash, Volume 1, was produced and barreled in Barrels #255 and #270 in March of 2021, then aged in the rickhouse prior to bottling in March 2023, and then released on April 1, 2023.
Barrels #255 and #270 were hand-picked by artist and spirits enthusiast Robert Jacob Lerma, founder of the Smoke + Mash Social Club, and the bottle label features Ms. Tootsie from Snow’s BBQ. Smoke + Mash Volume 1 can only be purchased at the release party on April 1, 2023 at Fierce Whiskers Distillery.
Robert Jacob Lerma holds a bottle of Smoke + Mash Volume 1 in the Fierce Whiskers rickhouse.
Calculating the Emissions Footprint
To make this release carbon neutral, we needed to ensure our emissions minus reductions were equal to zero. To do this, we followed these steps:
- Using the FW sustainability report, determine a per-proof gallon Scope 1 and 2 emission rate.
- Calculate Scope 3 emissions for the bottles.
- Add Scope 1, 2, and 3 emission amounts to determine the per-bottle footprint.
- Offset the full emissions for all 454 bottles by purchasing carbon credits.
About FW’s Scope 1, 2, and 3 Emissions
Carbon emissions for this limited release were estimated as follows.
- For Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, the facility-wide emissions quantified in the initial sustainability report were normalized against production rates in proof gallons, and then a per-bottle emissions rate was calculated based on the proof gallons barreled in Barrels #255 and #270, and the bottling of 454 bottles for this release.
- Scope 3 emissions were calculated for the bottles (manufacture and shipping) based on the weight per bottle and the number of bottles.
* bottles only
To put these emissions into perspective, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Equivalencies Calculator, 1.454 metric tons of GHG emissions is equal to the amount of emissions produced by:
Every Sip is Carbon Neutral
To go carbon neutral with the release of this rye, FW purchased and retired carbon offset credits in the amount of 1.454 metric tons of CO2e to negate 100% of the 1.454 metric tons of CO2e emitted. FW has taken steps to incorporate energy efficiency throughout their facility and also installed solar panels in April 2021—carbon credits are a tool to help mitigate harder-to-abate emissions.
Selected Carbon Offset Projects
To reach carbon neutrality for this release, FW wanted to maximize its impact and fund exciting technologies with valuable co-benefits. FW selected the following projects to offset the emissions from this limited release of carbon-neutral rye:
Project 1: Pulling Pollution From the Air
CLIMEWORKS | ICELAND | .454 METRIC TONS CO2
Climeworks is leading the charge for direct air capture (DAC) of CO2, a technology that pulls CO2 molecules out of the atmosphere. FW invested in the removal of 454 kg of carbon utilizing Climeworks’ innovative DAC technology. The purchase of this CO2 removal helps Climeworks to scale their technology to actively remove more carbon and fight climate change by removing excess CO2 from the air. Climeworks launched Orca, the world’s largest and first climate-positive DAC and storage plant in September 2021 in Iceland.
Project 2: Supporting Biodiversity and Reforestation
BAUMINVEST MIXED REFORESTATION | COSTA RICA | 1 METRIC TON CO2
Nature-based solutions are an important tool for sequestering carbon, so FW rounded out its project selection with the BaumInvest mixed reforestation project in Costa Rica, which has successfully reforested 1,280 hectares of land by planting 1 million trees comprising a mix of 17 different tree species. Through biodiversity monitoring, the project has discovered that 70 new species of amphibians and reptiles have settled in the project area.
FW Sustainability Report
Learn more about how Fierce Whiskers has made sustainable choices every step of the way by downloading its full sustainability report.
Emissions Calculation Details
The facility’s total produced quantity of alcohol in units of measure of proof gallon is calculated by the barrels produced and the proof of alcohol contained in each barrel, as barreled. To calculate emissions for this release, the proof gallons for barrel 47 were utilized, and emissions per bottle were based on the number of 750 milliliter (mL) bottles of rye produced from Barrels #255 and #270.
Billing data from Texas Gas Services from the period of the start of production in August 2020 through March 2021 was utilized to determine the natural gas consumption for the FW Distillery. To estimate total emissions in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), emission factors from the Environmental Protection Agency we applied.
FW procures energy from Austin Energy, a City of Austin utility. Utility bills from June 2020 through March 2021 were utilized to determine FW’s total electricity consumption for that time period. FW applied location-based emission factors from the regional ERCOT grid from EPA’s eGRID database to calculate facility-wide electricity emissions.
FW sourced glass bottles from Germany for the limited release. Carbon emissions associated with the transport of the bottles from Germany to FW were quantified utilizing the transport distances and EPA emission factors for cargo ships and trucks. For the emissions associated with the manufacture of the glass bottles, a life cycle analysis (LCA) factor was applied to the weight of the bottles, which are made with 80% recycled content.
Note, Scope 3 emissions for the limited release exclude emissions from the production of raw ingredients and the transport of ingredients to FW. FW plans to expand the boundaries of its Scope 3 emissions to incorporate ingredient emissions in its next sustainability report.
Ready to go carbon neutral?
CarbonBetter can help! CarbonBetter is a privately held firm specializing in sustainability and decarbonization services, clean energy and carbon offset project consulting, and energy logistics. We’re a creative and diverse team tackling the complex climate challenges that are changing our world by helping organizations transition to a net-zero future—accelerating the societal shifts that will save our planet. We’re proud to be the largest certified minority-owned business in Austin, Texas. Learn more at www.carbonbetter.com/about/.
CarbonBetter helps organizations of all sizes measure, reduce, report, and offset their emissions, and tell stories about their sustainability journey.
Telling stories about sustainability efforts helps other organizations take action that will then, in turn, inspire others—it’s never too early or late to start.
More About Fierce WhiskersSee All
The Austin distillery Fierce Whiskers is releasing 257 carbon-negative bottles of Five O’Clock Shadow from Barrel #47 in a limited release.Read More
Fierce Whiskers is a minority-owned American bourbon distillery, focused on quality and sustainability from grain to glass. As of its 2022 report, Scope 3 emissions have been included.Read More
Last week the CarbonBetter team had the privilege of spending an hour with three powerhouse leaders in the alcoholic beverage space as we explored ways that each of them has tackled integrating sustainability into their businesses. Catch the highlights and watch the replay here.Read More