Lanchester Group, the world’s first carbon-negative drinks business

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Overview

Founded by Tony and Veronica Cleary in the front room of their house in 1980, the Lanchester Group has flourished into a business with an annual turnover of £70m. The Group plays an important part in the North East’s economy, providing 250 jobs in County Durham and winning plaudits and awards from major UK retailers. In addition to their role as a significant local employer, the Group has in recent years introduced a range of progressive green energy solutions.

Between 2011 and 2014, the Lanchester Group erected three EWT wind turbines with tip heights of 76m; together these provide at least 5.5million KWh each year. The Group uses roughly 50% of this to power their 440,000 square foot site, and this will play a major role in enabling them to realise their vision of becoming a ‘carbon negative’ business. They are already rightfully proud to be the world’s first ‘carbon minus’ wine business, and wish to take this even further. Growing in a sustainable way is important to the company. Using cutting edge low-carbon technology will have the twofold effect of ensuring the Group grows in a sustainable way and future-proofing the business against rising energy costs.

Challenges and Actions

The Lanchester Group has continued to expand, and now comprises ve distinct companies: Lanchester Wine Cellars, Lanchester Properties, Greencroft Bottling Company Ltd, Lanchester Sales and Lanchester Energy.

Lanchester Wine Cellars in the Group’s core business. Every bottle produced by the Group is stamped with their ‘Carbon Minus’ logo. The bottles that bear this logo have had their transport costs offset, and were lled on the Lanchester Group’s state of the art bottling lines - which are powered by renewable wind energy.

Lanchester Group began their green drive in 2005. Being sustainable and environmentally friendly is a major concern to their customers as the knowledge and tastes of consumers change.

As a group they are powered almost entirely by renewable wind and solar energy. They offset their transport fleets’ carbon footprint and any excess power produced by their own green energy projects is fed into the National Grid.

Lanchester Energy, which specialises in renewable wind and solar energy, was founded in 2013.

Lanchester Group’s offices are all powered by solar panels covering the roof, which during winter months are supplemented by their wind turbines.

The turbines installed between 2011 and 2014 are part of a £4.5m project for Lanchester Energy, which complements substantial investments already made, including: a heat pump to modulate office temperatures: solar panels; the installation of electric vehicle charging points; and the use of a low-emission Volvo fleet of vehicles. The company also operates a high-efficiency Tetra Pak wine-filling line, which is the only high-speed Tetra line in the UK.

Lanchester Wine Cellars plan to continue producing carbon-minus wine. In the future they will combine this innovative mode of production with an innovative mode of delivery, tting 33,000 Tetra Paks to each delivery truck rather than the old method of transporting 22,000 bottles. This forward-thinking method means that for every million litres of wine the Group delivers, they can take 65 trucks o the road. All these investments in efficient and low-carbon technologies will contribute to the realisation of the Group’s ultimate goal - to be the greenest liquor company in the world.

Lessons & Results

  • Energy savings from the turbines are reinvested in the bottling plant. The plant has been developed as part of their ambitious ‘Carbon Minus’ project.
  • The three turbines generates in excess of 5,500 MWh each year.
  • The Lancester Group uses roughly 50% of the electricity produced by the turbines to power their 440,000 square foot site. The surplus electricity is fed into the local grid network.
  • In addition to the significant amount of electricity generated, the turbines also replace 2,322 tonnes of CO2 savings every year.

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