CESI Customer Southern Distilling Company Is An Innovator in Sustainability

The Statesville branch of CESI has had the opportunity to provide civil engineering and surveying for Southern Distilling Company on Jennings Road in Statesville. This modern two-story glass-fronted destination distillery is doing some innovative initiatives in regard to sustainability and recycling in the local community.

The company prides itself on working with local farmers to support the agricultural community. 85-90% of the grains for alcohol production are sourced from nearby farmers.

The grain gets stored in grain bins and then is milled in the mill room using a roller mill. At this point, the grain is crushed to have the consistency of a rough grit. During this process, the grain releases carbohydrates, most importantly starches, as well as enzymes. It is then cooked in a large steel cooker for about three and a half hours to transform it into a mash. Afterward, the mash is transferred to a fermentation tank. Yeast and some enzymes are added to consume the natural sugars to produce ethanol. This is known as the fermentation process.

During fermentation, the chemically broken-down sugars from grain are converted into alcohol. Once all sugar is converted and the fermentation process is complete, the mash is then agitated to create a homogenous mixture and moved into the beer well, where it will feed the still. The still will consume the mash, including degraded grains, and boil off ethanol from the liquid, thus beginning the process of making whiskey.

The leftover grains are called Distiller’s Spent Grains (DSG), or stillage. Farmers come to Southern Distilling Company in tanker trucks to take the fiber and protein-rich feed back to their farms as feed for their cattle and pigs. In addition, the spent grains can also be tilled into the soil to enrich it.

The owners of the distillery, Pete and Vienna Barger, also have a 700-acre farm with several hundred Black Angus cattle who enjoy the feed.

Southern Distilling Company also uses natural gas for heating their equipment. State-of-the-art technology minimizes their carbon footprint by reusing heat and utilizing cooling jackets.

A lot of thought goes into the barrels which are used to store and age the alcohol. The barrels are made from American White Oak which is a tree that grows rapidly.

Once a barrel is used for making bourbon, it can be reused to make whiskey. On the other hand, The Southern Star Double Rye whiskey is finished in bourbon barrels. The barrels impart some of the notes, sweetness, and softness into the double rye whiskey.

The various products pick up some of the flavors of the aged barrels. In addition, the barrels are used to make novelty furniture. The metal staves which go around the sides of the barrels can be used to create unique decorations.

In addition to tours and tastings, Southern Distilling Company also offers other contract distilling services such as private label production, barrel storage and warehousing, and co-packaging services for spirits brand owners, wholesalers, and retailers. The distillery tasting room and conference room & lounge suite are also available for rental as destination event spaces for corporate meetings and special occasions. A herd of adorable miniature donkeys keeps watch over The Preserve, Southern Distilling Company’s new event center, which will be used for live music, weddings, and business events.