A family-owned spirits business is phasing out presentation boxes and cartons across its Scotch whisky brands, hailing this as a “bold move” and major step towards it reaching net-zero carbon emissions.

Wemyss Family Spirits, which owns and operates Kingsbarns Distillery near St Andrews as well as Wemyss Malts, says this commitment will result in the saving of more than one tonne of carbon each year.

William Wemyss, who founded the business in 2005, described the move as a “milestone in the firm’s journey towards true sustainability” as he highlighted an ambition to be “one of the world’s greenest spirits companies.

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Following an initial trial, 15% of sales "went cartonless” in 2023, the company noted.

Wemyss Family Spirits, which highlighted its “longstanding history”, revealed this proportion will be “greatly expanded in 2024”, with the shipping of its bottles being protected with recycled and recyclable card dividers.

Mr Wemyss said: “From day one we wanted to create a spirits business that acted with real stewardship and care for the environment.

“That came from an innate sense of responsibility. For instance, 100% of the electricity consumed at our Kingsbarns and Darnley’s Gin distilleries and visitor centres comes from our own hydro schemes.”

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He added: “We also try to source our ingredients as locally as possible, from Fife barley for our whisky to botanicals foraged from the East Neuk shoreline and grown in our expanded cottage garden.

“Removing cartons and boxes from our products will have a huge impact and was a logical next step for us to continue our green pathway. Consumers are rightly demanding more sustainable products, so we’re hoping they’ll be receptive to the decision.”

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Wemyss Family Spirits noted it is “set for major expansion across 2024”, with work to start on 12 bonded warehouses and a bottling plant at Glenrothes in Fife. There will be an increase in the bottling of whisky produced at Kingsbarns, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary later this year.

The independent family business flagged its “ever-growing portfolio of award-winning single malts, blended malts and natural gins”.

Mr Wemyss said: “It’s a hugely exciting time for our spirits businesses. We are now applying real focus on the next steps with the aim of reaching net zero ahead of both industry and UK targets.

“We want to be recognised locally and internationally for being one of the world’s greenest spirits companies and we believe we’ve all the capabilities to be that.”

Wemyss Family Spirits noted its broader sustainability strategy includes "careful" waste management, with by-products of the processes at the Darnley’s and Kingsbarns distilleries, such as spent grains, repurposed for animal feed and other agricultural uses.

More recently, the sales team has moved to 100% electric car use, the company added.