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Words by Jane Ryan

Slane Castle may have first been built in the 18th century, but its distillery is a very modern entity, constructed between 2015 – 2017. This meant its designers could build with sustainability in mind and ensure there were processes in place from day one to make this a green-minded whiskey.


Slane Whiskey Distillery has a catchment system to collect and store rainwater from the roofs of the distillery buildings and this is treated and used for process water or landscape irrigation. This reduces the amount of water that is drawn from the Boyne River.

Waste Materials

Grain and yeast by-product from the distillation process, called stillage, is provided to local farmers, who use this by-product for animal feed.

Energy Efficiency And Innovation

The distillery is currently building an anaerobic digester to convert distillation wastewater (pot ale and spent lees) into biogas. This biogas will be used as boiler fuel to reduce a portion of the greenhouse gas emissions. Other outputs from this process include biomass that can be used as a natural fertilizer and treated water that meets requirements to be reused.

Heat recovery systems have also been included throughout production, so as necessary cooling processes take place, this heats up another section of the production process that needs temperature increases. Excess heat is used to preheat boiler feed water (reducing energy consumption) and as a source of building heat for the visitor centre.


When building the distillery, the team reconstructed a section of Harlinstown Stream, a tributary to the Boyne River, and made a salmon ladder in consultation with the National Fisheries.

This salmon ladder essentially allows salmon and other fish to bypass the mill pond (used for fire suppression water) and travel upstream during spawning season. The salmon ladder was designed and constructed to mimic a natural stream environment and improve the biodiversity of this section of the water on site, and it's already being put to good use by both salmon and trout each year.

There is also nesting boxes for bats and barn owls within the attic spaces of some of the farm buildings to ensure the distillery doesn't disturb them.

Further Commitments Toward Sustainability

Slane Whiskey Distillery is part of Ireland's sustainability program, Origin Green. They are working towards achieving ISO 14001 certification, which will be a first for a Brown-Forman production site.

The site is also bike-friendly for staff and visitors and the visitor parking area was also built with permeable pavers that allow rainwater to infiltrate into the soil, reducing runoff and potential pollution from reaching the Boyne River.

Slane Distillery

Status: Operational
Visitor Policy: Not generally accessible
Tel: +353 (0) 41 988 4477
Website: Slane Distillery
Address: Slane Castle, Slane, Co. Meath