Base spirit supplier Manildra defends environmental record

Base spirit supplier to many Australian distilleries, Manildra Group, maintains “the highest commitment to sustainability”, a company spokesperson says.

Manildra head of government and corporate affairs, Kirsty Beavon, was responding to an Australian Financial Review article that alleged continual environmental infringements by its Shoalhaven Starches plant in New South Wales.

“Manildra’s Bomaderry plant has breached its NSW Environment Protection Authority licence more than 10,000 times in recent years for the opacity of its atmospheric emissions, and has been slapped with major fines for emitting foul odours,” the July 15 article said.

However, a NSW EPA spokesperson told Drinks Adventures the supposed licence breaches related to the failure of a monitoring system that measures opacity from one of the boilers at the site.

“While it was reported as 9999 breaches due to the automatic attempts by the system to reengage itself, the NSW EPA reviewed the incident when it was reported and found that it was a one-off failure of a meter and therefore considered to be a single licence breach,” the spokesperson said.

“While the faulty meter was being replaced, other monitoring carried out indicated that the discharges were within the prescribed limits set by the licence.

“Therefore, there is no suggestion of any environmental harm during this period.”

The Shoalhaven Starches ethanol plant

Manildra’s Beavon told Drinks Adventures that Shoalhaven Starches was the very first operator worldwide to achieve certification by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterial Standard (RSB).

“Since 2012, Manildra Group have been producing RSB-certified ethanol from wheat processing residues and have continued to carry RSB Participant Code 00001,” she said.

“The certification requires Manildra Group to prove that our production of grain neutral spirit is being manufactured in an environmentally and socially responsible way — and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“RSB’s approach is recognised widely as the most trusted, credible and practical certification for the bioeconomy, with support from NGOs including WWF, Blue Angel, NRDC and others.”

Manildra was platinum sponsor of the Australian Distillers Association National Conference in 2020.

It supplies grain spirit for use in gin, vodka and whisky by many ADA members. Those who speak openly about it include Four Pillars, Archie Rose, Manly Spirits, Cape Byron, Young Henrys and Starward.

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Author: James Atkinson

Journalist specialising in the food, drink, travel and hospitality arenas. Australian International Beer Awards 2017 Media Award Winner and Certified Cicerone®.

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