Anaerobic digestion (AD) can remove substantial amount of organic load when applied in treating distillery effluent but it is ineffective in colour reduction. Conversely, photodegradation is effective in colour reduction but has high energy requirement. A study on the synergy of a combined AD and ultra violet (UV) photodegradation treatment of distillery effluent was carried out in fluidized bed reactors to evaluate pollution reduction and energy utilization efficiencies. The combined process improved colour removal from 41% to 85% compared to that of AD employed as a stand-alone process. An overall corresponding total organic carbon (TOC) reduction of 83% was achieved. The bioenergy production by the AD step was 14.2 kJ/g total organic carbon (TOC) biodegraded while UV lamp energy consumption was 0.9 kJ/mg TOC, corresponding to up to 100% colour removal. Electrical energy per order analysis for the photodegradation process showed that the bioenergy produced was 20% of that required by the UV lamp to photodegrade 1 m3 of undiluted pre-AD treated effluent up to 75% colour reduction. It was concluded that a combined AD-UV system for treatment of distillery effluent is effective in organic load removal and can be operated at a reduced cost.