Crown Royal building $245 million carbon neutral distillery to St. Clair

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The company behind Crown Royal is building a new $245 million carbon neutral distillery in St. Clair Township.

Diageo has purchased 400 acres in St. Clair Township to build the plant which will produce up to 20 million litres of alcohol annually. It includes a distillery as well as blending and warehousing operations.

It’s part of the company’s plan to be 100 per cent carbon neutral by 2030.

“A low-carbon world is essential for a sustainable future, so I am thrilled to announce our first carbon neutral distillery in Canada as we continue to build momentum in our journey to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030,” said Perry Jones, President, North America Supply for Diageo in a news release. “We celebrate such a significant milestone for our Crown Royal brand, our North American operations and global footprint.”

Sales of Crown Royal have increased 12 per cent in the first quarter of this year.

“Crown Royal is the heart of our whiskey business, as the most valuable whiskey brand. It’s critical when we extend our footprint, that we are committed to creating a more sustainable world,” said Sophie Kelly, Senior Vice President of Whiskies, Diageo North America in a news release. “We are thrilled by this new world-class distillery. It will enable us to drive momentum to 2030 and beyond to elevate Crown Royal as a best-in-class whisky brand that leads innovation in the industry.”

The plant, which expected to take three years to build will employ “dozens” according to the company. Diageo’s St. Clair Distillery will join the company’s existing Canadian manufacturing operations in Amherstburg, Ontario, Gimli, Manitoba, and Valleyfield, Quebec.

Construction is anticipated to begin in the second half of 2022, and the distillery is expected to be operational in 2025.

St. Clair Township Mayor Steve Arnold welcomed the new company saying it “is also aligned with our priorities in ensuring a clean environment in the businesses that are in our community.”

“We are delighted to welcome Diageo to St. Clair Township. This significant investment will be a tremendous fit with the ongoing diversification of the local economy. The carbon neutral facility clearly links with the Sarnia-Lambton area’s efforts to attract new investment that aligns with the drive to a zero-carbon economy, while contributing positively to job growth,” said Judith Morris, Interim CEO, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership in a news release.