With the diversification of various alcohol companies toward bioethanol energy in the country, an executive of Tanduay Distillers Inc. said that low local supply of sugarcane should be addressed to keep up with the demand.
Chief Financial Officer Nestor Mendones said one of the challenges that alcohol companies, like Tanduay, are facing is the cost of molasses and the supply of sugarcane as they feared it will be limited, seeing that about 15 companies listed by the Sugar Regulatory Administration will now produce bioethanol fuel.
Tanduay is using 100 percent sugar produced in Negros Occidental in its distillery facility in Pulupandan town, that produces about 80,000 liters of alcohol a day, Mendones said.
He and other company officials are in Negros Occidental this week to discuss plans of celebrating their 165th anniversary this year.
In a press conference at the Asian Alcohol facility in Pulupandan Wednesday, Mendones said the 15 companies will now start producing bioethanol and they will need about 1.5 million metric tons of sugarcane annually.
He also said that alcohol companies will need 500,000 metric tons, which will accumulate to 2 million MTs in a year, but local sugarcane production is estimated at 1.2 million MTs only, he added.
Apart from this demand, the cost of molasses is also a challenge for local manufacturers of alcoholic drinks as it covers about 70 percent of the total cost of producing ethyl alcohol, Mendones said.
If it will increase, it will dictate the production cost in producing spirits, he added.
To address the problem, Mendones said that Tanduay is eyeing to build their own sugar mill to directly convert sugarcane into alcohol, which has a higher output compared to molasses.
“We are considering it but we do not have concrete plans yet. The Batangas distillery (of Tanduay) has already the approval of the Sugar Regulatory Administration to mill about 1,800 tons a day,” he said.
Since the re-opening of Asian Alcohol Corporation in Brgy. Canjusa, Pulupandan in 2016, it is producing about 80,000 liters of alcohol solely for Tanduay, Senior Vice President for Operations, Susan Benitez, said.
The maximum capacity of the distillery is about 200,000 liters and 100,000 of it might be used to produce bioethanol, she said.
She added that alternative raw materials, like cassava and sorghum, could only be used in making bioethanol, but not in producing alcohol for Tanduay, as molasses from sugarcane is the main ingredient in making rum.
Both Tanduay and Asian Alcohol are members of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies.*
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