08/08/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Maker's Mark To Reuse Bourbon Waste

LORETTO, Ky. -- Marker's Mark has turned on a new treatment system at its Loretto, Ky., distillery, turning waste into energy for the facility.

The anaerobic digestion facility installed by waste management provider Ecovation will process stillage - the water, grain and yeast waste leftover from making bourbon - and produce a methane and carbon dioxide biogas for use in the distillery's boilers.

The stillage treatment, which was incorporated into the facility's existing wastewater treatment system, is expected to offset 15-30 percent of the distillery's natural gas use.

The $8 million system is estimated to produce 85 million BTUs a day, and will eventually produce up to 165 million BTUs a day as the distillery increases its production of bourbon from 840,000 cases to 2.2 million cases a year over the next 10 years.