Skip to Main Content

TDEC Launches Tennessee Sustainable Spirits Program

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 | 12:59pm

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has announced Tennessee Sustainable Spirits, a program aimed at reducing environmental impact and operational costs associated with energy and natural resource use by wineries, wine growers, breweries, and distilleries.

The voluntary recognition and technical assistance program, implemented by the TDEC Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices, announced four pilot members participating. They are:

  • Jackalope Brewing in Nashville
  • Life Is Brewing – Mantra Artisan Ales in Franklin
  • Keg Springs Winery in Hampshire
  • Short Mountain Distillery in Cannon County

“We want this program to foster responsible environmental practices, and we want to publicly recognize these producers as part of that effort,” Kendra Abkowitz, director of TDEC’s Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices, said.

The program will assist wineries and wine growers, breweries, and distilleries by promoting sustainable best practices and providing technical assistance toward environmental goals. Producers must meet certain sustainability requirements, provide utility and production data, and submit applications to be considered for admission into the program. Applicants who don’t initially qualify will receive recommendations to increase sustainability and improve potential for future eligibility. Membership benefits include state recognition, technical assistance, workshops, and networking opportunities.

“We are very proud to be a part of the TNSS program,” said Mark Jones, owner of Life Is Brewing. “We are grateful to have industry information available for comparisons as well as new ideas in sustainability and cost savings.”

The production of wine, beer, and distilled liquor requires energy and water while also producing unique waste streams and byproducts. Spirits producers often require significant amounts of energy to produce a final product. Water is the single most important natural resource across each industry, from growing grapes to using water as an ingredient. Access to clean water and responsible management of waste water is vital to a sustainable spirits industry in Tennessee.

Mantra Artisan Ales, which is part of Life is Brewing, and Jackalope Brewing each has a 15-barrel brew house and an onsite tasting room. Keg Springs Winery produces dry red to sweet fruit wines on-site with a barrel aging room, a tasting room and venue space. The winery utilizes a 118-panel 30.8 kW solar photo voltaic system to offset purchased electricity. Short Mountain Distillery is on a 400-acre working farm and crafts small-batch moonshine, organic Tennessee whiskey, bourbon, and other spirits. Its 250-gallon copper still is powered by a 30 HP natural gas boiler and cooling is powered by a natural gas absorption chiller. 

The Tennessee Sustainable Spirits program is open to all wineries and wine growers, breweries, and distilleries in Tennessee. For more information on the program or how to apply please visit: https://www.tn.gov/environment/program-areas/opsp-policy-and-sustainable-practices/business-and-private-sector/tennessee-sustainable-spirits.html.