A Madison company is helping to build an innovative system that will turn the leftovers from Jack Daniel’s whiskey-making process into natural gas and liquid fertilizer, one they say will be the first of its kind in the U.S.
Making whiskey involves mashing grain with water and yeast, then fermenting that mix. The process yields alcohol and carbon dioxide, as well as a watery waste product called stillage. Distillers have to figure out how to offload that stillage, typically by drying it, separating it and then sending it to farms to feed to livestock. But that method is energy-intensive, and it can be hard to find enough farmers to use all the stillage, creating bottlenecks for distillers looking to produce more alcohol.
That was the problem facing Jack Daniel’s as it sought to expand its Lynchburg, Tennessee facility to meet a growing demand for its Tennessee whiskey around the world.