Jack Daniel’s, 3 Rivers Energy Partners breaks ground on anaerobic digester

Jack Daniel's and 3 Rivers Energy official at the anaerobic digester site
Both Jack Daniel’s Distillery and 3 Rivers Energy Partners officials were present at the ground breaking. Pictured (front row, from left to right) are the distillery’s Donna Willis and Melvin Keebler as well as 3 Rivers Energy Partners’ David Johnson, Jorge Pelaez from Chapin Davis, Louis Buck, Marshall Miller from 3 Rivers Energy Partners as well as (back row, left to right) Jack Daniel’s Clint Collins and Denis Roth and 3 Rivers Energy Partners
Max Johnson, Matthew Dautle, and Shawn Poynor with Dorado Construction. (A Lynchburg Times Photo)

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — It’s a local development that’s crucial to providing energy to support continued growth of Jack Daniel’s and on Wednesday officials from both the distillery and 3 Rivers Energy Partners broke ground on the new anaerobic digester project located along Good Branch Road in Moore County.

“We are thrilled to begin this partnership with 3 Rivers Energy Partners in the development and use of Anaerobic Digestion for our operations,’ stated Jack Daniel’s General Manager Melvin Keebler on Wednesday. “This facility will ensure that we are able to expand our operations in a sustainable way that supports our community, our employees, and our business. It allows us to utilize renewable energy to run our operations as well as partner with local farmers in the use of natural fertilizer to create a circular economy for corn use at the distillery. This partnership is a strategic step in our ever evolving sustainability journey.”

The Anaerobic Digester is part of a compromise Jack Daniel’s officials made with local producers after word that they planned to phase out the Moore County Feeder Cow Program received considerable push back. After spending days talking one-on-one with employee farmers and members of the Moore County farming community, Jack Daniel’s then General Manager Larry Combs stood in front of a capacity crowd during a May 27 community meeting and explained he’d changed his mind.

“We thought we had some good ideas,” Combs told the crowd on May 27. “But after talking to employee farmers one-on-one, we realized we needed to tweak some of them.”

Combs went on to explain that day that the distillery would continue to offer slop to existing customers at the current capacity until the proposed anaerobic digester plant comes online, then capacity would be at about half.

Fertilizer offered to area farmers

According to a 3 Rivers Energy Partners press release, the new facility should come online in early 2024. The facility will utilize spent distiller’s grains from the Jack Daniel Distillery to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) and a low-carbon natural fertilizer. Once operational, it is expected to produce up to 1.1 million mmbtus of renewable natural gas (RNG) each year while providing energy savings at the distillery. The fertilizer created from this project will be available to local farmers and will help to eliminate the need for commercial fertilizer.

Any local farmer who is interested in utilizing the fertilizer can visit a 3 Rivers Energy Partners webpage dedicated to the local program. There you can contact officials with questions. They will also post project updates and the schedule of community meetings the group plans as the project continues.

“Please reach out through the webform with any questions – we welcome your involvement as together we strive towards greater sustainability outcomes within our community,” 3 Rivers Energy Partners stated. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently-owned, community newspaper located in Lynchburg, Tennessee the home of The Jack Daniel Distillery. We focus on public service, non-partisan, rural journalism. We cover the Metro Moore County government, local tourism, Moore County schools, high school sports, Motlow State Community College, as well as whiskey industry news and regional and state stories that affect our readers.}