Industrial Ecology: Copalli Rum Distillery

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Copal Rum Distillery, was developed by Belcampo Inc, a California-based sustainable food company. Their vertically integrated Meat Co. with ranch, slaughterhouse and Butcher Shops, have launched to wild success in the U.S. and they began working on additional ventures.

Hyphae worked with the client on a project in Punta Gorda, Belize, to rebrand and significantly renovate an old fishing lodge into the Copal Tree Lodge, an ecological agro-tourism focused resort. In addition to new amenities and sustainable water infrastructure, we helped develop site infrastructure for a farm-to-table program and a workshop to showcase and teach visitors about historical Belizean crops: Chocolate, Coffee and Rum and how they could be made again in a traditional and  ecological process. The project was a huge success and the Rum program gained significant attention.

Hyphae was then invited to work with Belcampo from early concept development, to create an iconic ecological rum brand. Hyphae led the projects team through the industrial ecology and life cycle assessment of the facility, then site masterplanning, design and engineering. Hyphae coordinated and integrating a diversity of local and international consultants, including distillery engineers, environmental engineers and biologists.

Surrounded by abundant tropical rainforest, Copal Rum distillery intended to be both a functional processing facility, as well as an innovative example of net-zero-closed loop ecological alcohol production. The project is net zero water, power and waste. The Crops and then entire Facility are supplied by rainwater, from a 100,000 gallon rainwater catchment system with passive filtration. The cane, both creates the spirit and also provides power through biomass to steam conversion. Stormwater and wastewater water are retained and treated through constructed wetland systems. Potent vinasse is treated and conditioned and reused for fertilization, through systems we researched and developed for the project.

Research & Design Process

Some hotels are adding distilleries. Copal Tree Lodge in southern Belize opened Copal Tree Distillery, powered by biomass and using resort-grown sugar cane, last year. This summer the resort, home to a 3,000-acre organic farm, plans to add rum-spicing and cocktail-making classes to its culinary lineup.

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