Distillery converts food waste into water with LFC biodigester

April 19, 2021

CRESTED BUTTE — Montanya Distillers is an American Craft Rum Distillery located high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Montanya Distillers was founded by Karen Hoskin and is a female owned business. They have three facilities totaling 5,800 square feet: the Distillery and Tasting Room, a bottling facility and barrel house, and an office. 

Montanya Distillers ships their house rum to 44 states and 7 countries, and the company is poised for continued growth. Montanya Rums have won almost every major award in the spirits world, including gold and double gold medals, Best in Class designations, USA Rum of the Year, and Craft Distillery of the Year.

For Karen Hoskin, building a company was never just about rum-as much as she loves it, she also loves the challenge of creating something new and wanted to build a business that could have an impact. She sees Montanya Distillers as a way to be a force for good in her community, in the beverage and alcohol industry, and in the lives of her employees. In that same manner, Karen also sees Montanya Distillers as one of the first sustainable leaders in the distillery industry.

Montanya Distillers installed an LFC-50 biodigester in February 2021. In just two months, the machine has digested 1500 lb (680 kg) of citrus and other food waste that comes from the bar, restaurant, and tasting room. They have diverted over 2.8 tonnes of CO2e from the landfill.

Clean Environment for Customers and Employees 

Karen Hoskin’s philosophy of stewardship guides every decision in the business: Are we taking care of the people involved? Are we taking care of the environment and the greater community around the company? Are we leaving a mess for someone else to clean up later? 

Karen was committed to reducing and eliminating at least 75% of all the food waste from their facility. Montanya Distillers initially used a local commercial composting service but after they went out of business, Karen began looking for a long-term, sustainable solution for waste management. 

Montanya Distillers was recognized as a 2020 Travelers’ Choice Winner due to its free rum tastings, free distillery tours, artisan cocktails, and food menu. With multiple tours throughout the day, it was imperative to find a clean solution that would minimize smells, odors, and pests. 

From going plastic neutral to modern food waste management, Montanya Distillers continues to remain at the innovative forefront of distilleries, leading their industry in sustainability and social responsibility. 

Easy, Seamless Installation 

While Montanya Distillers focused on operations and customer satisfaction, a third party contractor, Dave Foster from Hilltop Handiwork, installed the LFC-50 biodigester with no prior experience or knowledge about the machines. According to Dave, installation was quick and simple. “Setting up the machine itself was quite easy! Done in a day.”

“I absolutely would recommend it to restaurants, especially those that can dump prep scraps and and plate leftovers directly into the digester,” said Dave. “We are very impressed by how it works.”

Staff and Customers’ Impressions

Business at the distillery has persisted through the global pandemic and on April 12th, the LFC-50 biodigester digested a personal record for Montanya Distiller – 55 pounds of food waste into water.

Alissa Johnson, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Montanya Rum, is particularly excited about the LFC biodigester. “Environmental sustainability has always been an important focus at Montanya, and choices like that are great conversation starters to help educate our customers. When we switched from plastic to stainless steel straws, our customers were very interested and wanted to learn more. The LFC-50 biodigester sits in an area that will soon become part of a tour exhibit. I expect that to be another great opportunity to further educate our customer on sustainability.”

Similarly, the staff at Montanya Distiller are very excited about the new food digester. “Our staff are all amazed by it,” said Alissa. “They use a lot of citrus in daily operations and to see how the biodigester has been turning pounds of fruit peels and fiber into water has been incredible.”

About Montanya Distillers

Montanya Distillers is an American craft rum distillery located high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It is a female founded and female owned business. They have three facilities totaling 5,800 square feet: the Distillery and Tasting Room, a bottling facility and barrel house, and an office. 

Industry: Distillery
Location: United States