Heritage

Heritage

Sustainability

Sustainability

Quality

Quality

Always a
Clean Finish

A Clean Finish

With an enthusiasm rivaled only by our passion for quality, we’ve invested significant time, knowledge, and resources in making our distillery the unquestionable leader in clean, green practices in the spirits industry.

Not only do we reap the benefits of real energy return and useful post-production materials, but we also get to do what’s best for the people and wildlife of our lovely island, Puerto Rico.

Unquestionable Solutions

We approach sustainability as the challenge of finding ecologically responsible solutions within the context of an economically viable enterprise. Our waste reclamation program not only allows us to maximize our production capacity, it provides valuable energy return and cost reductions in the form of Biogas, electricity, service water, and industrial products that we can sell to other businesses. All this while doing what’s best for the vibrant ecosphere of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Sea.

Unquestionable Leadership

Don Q is a pioneer among spirits producers when it comes to clean business practices. The process we use to clean up our waste did not exist until we invested millions of dollars and significant time and brainpower. It was a steep learning curve to connect a series of self-contained processes into an innovative cycle of waste treatment and energy harvest. In fact, our work is now being emulated by a number of other spirits producers, and may prove applicable even to other industries. Sadly, however, most other rum producers in the Caribbean dump raw or partially treated waste directly into the ocean or into surface water, endangering these fragile ecosystems.


How we give back

A sustainable approach to making rum leads to a superior product as well as a healthy ecosystem.

Water

Using the fresh waters that run through the Río Inabón, we dilute the molasses to prepare it for fermentation.

Molasses

Historically, molasses and rum began as recycled products, the byproduct of granulated sugar production. The heat applied to cane juice releases some of the sugars as crystals while caramelizing the remaining sugars in the molasses. This process also gives molasses its golden-brown color.

Fermentation

While diluted molasses ferments, it releases CO2. Instead of just releasing it into the air, we capture it and make it available to local soft drink producers. This decreases our net carbon footprint while helping the soda in Puerto Rico stay bubbly.

Distillation

Distillation is an energy-intensive process in which steam is forced through columns in order to cull the alcohol from the fermented molasses "beer". Once alcohol is removed, what remains is a large volume of wastewater. The wastewater is laden with organic material—basically everything from the molasses "beer" except the alcohol.

Wastewater

Anaerobic
Digesters

x

Anaerobic Digesters

The first step in waste treatment is performed in a sealed chamber. This process removes about 70% of the organic material in the wastewater. Specialized bacteria digest the raw waste in an oxygen-deprived environment. As they do their work, the bacteria release volatile compounds that are captured and concentrated into valuable Biogas.

Biogas

x

Biogas

The Biogas from our process powers the boilers that make the steam necessary for distillation. Using Biogas, we manage to offset 50 – 70% of our annual oil usage. When one factors in the energy required for crude oil extraction and delivery, we’ve eliminated about 2 million gallons of crude oil consumption per year.

Solid
Clarifiers

x

Solid Clarifiers

Most of the remaining organic and inorganic solids are removed and separated from the wastewater.

Used Shipping Palettes

Wood Chips

x

Wood Chips

We make our own woodchips by grinding down used shipping pallets that we obtain at zero cost.

Service
Electricity

x

Service Electricity

Before the steam from our boilers reaches the distillation columns, we pass it through a turbo-generator that creates a significant amount of electricity. We put this power to use in the distillery, which reduces the amount we need to purchase.

Solids

Compost

x

Compost

The bio-solids recuperated through the process are dewatered and mixed with wood chips to create industrial compost to be used as fertilizer or soil additive.

Liquids

Aerobic
Digesters

x

Aerobic Digesters

In this process, a large volume of wastewater is circulated and aerated in an open system, bombarding the remaining organics with oxygen. This allows the materials to both oxidize and be digested by oxygen-dependent bacteria. The aerobic process lowers the wastewater’s organic content from about 1,000 to less than 150 parts per million.

Fertilizer
Mulch

x

Fetilizer Mulch

We use our composted organic solids to produce rich, soil-invigorating mulch that’s used by landscapers and gardeners. We add natural colors for aesthetic purposes and market the product all over Puerto Rico.

Microfiltration

x

Microfiltration

Using reverse osmosis membrane filtration, almost all of the remaining organics are removed.

Irrigation Grade Water

x

Irrigation Grade Water

The water that emerges after the reclamation process is fit for irrigation and industrial usage. We use it to keep our equipment clean, cool down exothermic steps in production, and to water the lands around our headquarters.

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