Four Pillars' carbon-neutral gin distillery

Tuesday, 05 April, 2022

Four Pillars Gin has unveiled details of a $7 million upgrade to its Healesville headquarters in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Set to open at the end of April, the gin distillery will be certified carbon neutral under an Australian Government initiative called Climate Active.

Not only will all Four Pillars gins bottled onsite be certified carbon neutral, the business operations of Four Pillars have also achieved carbon neutral status by being included in the boundary of the Lion Australia’s organisation certification last year (Lion is a partner of Four Pillars).

The new distillery, named Healesville 2.0, has seen more than a 1000 m2 expansion of the original site. Designed by Melbourne’s Breathe Architecture, the distillery is located directly adjacent, and wholly connected, to the original Four Pillars home on Lilydale Road, Healesville.

The construction has used materials including recycled and upcycled concrete and bricks, and pineapple ‘leather’ upholstery — even building ‘waste’ has been carefully used and given a second life. Furniture is all locally sourced, solar power panels clad the roof, and internal and external landscaping includes plantings of local natives and botanicals, many of which will be used in future gin distillations.

A wall made of recycled brick also creates a display for the gin. Image credit: Anson Smart

Gin will also be ‘piped’ directly into the main bar through featured copper pipes to reduce glass waste and bottled tonic usage will be reduced, replaced in the most part by tonic in kegs. These two initiatives alone will see the site save 29 tonnes of glass per year.

Image credit: Anson Smart

The whole site, incorporating the old and new buildings, will be enclosed by a copper ‘veil’ made from 1650 m of raw copper tubing, giving Healesville a new landmark as well as working as a natural heat exchange to reduce energy consumption.

It is a significantly complex and costly undertaking to make actual products certified carbon neutral, alongside the production facility itself. Four Pillars has been working with Climate Active and consultants Ndver Environmental for more than a year to achieve this accreditation, which takes into account all elements of the gin’s journey beyond the distillery door.

“From the very first day we distilled gin we have tried to recycle, re-use and replenish our environment and give back to the community,” said Four Pillars co-founder and distiller Cameron Mackenzie.

“Our journey to carbon neutral began with the simple idea of re-using oranges for marmalade, giving spent botanicals to pigs for feed, putting solar panels on our roof and of course offsetting what can be an energy-intensive production process by carefully purchasing mainly domestic carbon credits.

“To be honest, we are doing no more, or less, than what should be expected of a business that is lucky enough to be based in the magnificent natural surrounds of the Yarra Valley.”

Ongoing sustainability programs include re-using the one tonne of spent botanicals produced each week in its Made from Gin food range or as mulch for local gardens.

Top image caption: Breathe Architecture Four Pillars Distillery Render.

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