Pacific Ethanol and Sweetwater Energy Announce Deal to Supply Customized Industrial Sugars to Produce Cellulosic Ethanol

Pacific Ethanol and Sweetwater Energy Announce Deal to Supply Customized
Industrial Sugars to Produce Cellulosic Ethanol

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 18, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sweetwater Energy, Inc.,
a Rochester, NY-based cellulosic sugar producer, and Pacific Ethanol, Inc.
(Nasdaq:PEIX), the leading marketer and producer of low-carbon renewable fuels
in the Western United States, announced an agreement to supply customized
industrial sugars for the production of cellulosic ethanol. The agreement
supports the construction of a cellulosic biorefinery at the Pacific Ethanol
Stockton facility capable of producing up to 3.6 million gallons of cellulosic
ethanol annually, contingent upon Sweetwater Energy obtaining the necessary
financing and permits.

Sweetwater Energy will use its patented, decentralized process to convert
locally available cellulosic material, such as crop residues, energy crops,
and wood waste into a sugar solution, which Pacific Ethanol will ferment into
cellulosic ethanol at its Stockton, CA refinery.

Neil Koehler, CEO of Pacific Ethanol, stated, "An important part of our growth
strategy is to take advantage of the flexibility of our plant infrastructure
to process diverse feedstocks such as sugar, corn, sorghum, and now sugars
produced from cellulosic material. The Sweetwater platform moves us towards
producing next-generation renewable fuels while providing additional
flexibility in sourcing, reducing feedstock costs and enhancing plant
operating margins."

"We are very pleased to work with Pacific Ethanol on this project," says
Arunas Chesonis, Chairman and CEO of Sweetwater Energy. "We are going to start
by supplying up to 6% of Pacific Ethanol Stockton's feedstock requirements
and, as our partnership grows we will evaluate increasing the amount."

About Sweetwater Energy, Inc.

Sweetwater Energy uses a patented technology and patented business model to
produce low-cost sugars from non-food plant materials in a decentralized
manner. The company's sugar solution is sold to refineries, which use it to
produce biofuels, biochemicals, and bioplastics. Unlike petroleum-based
technologies, Sweetwater Energy's process uses renewable plant materials that
are both grown domestically and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

About Pacific Ethanol, Inc.

Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (Nasdaq:PEIX) is the leading marketer and producer of
low-carbon renewable fuels in the Western United States. Pacific Ethanol also
sells co-products, including wet distillers grain ("WDG"), a nutritious animal
feed. Serving integrated oil companies and gasoline marketers who blend
ethanol into gasoline, Pacific Ethanol provides transportation, storage and
delivery of ethanol through third-party service providers in the Western
United States, primarily in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Oregon,
Colorado, Idaho and Washington. Pacific Ethanol has a 91% ownership interest
in New PE Holdco LLC, the owner of four ethanol production facilities. Pacific
Ethanol operates and manages the four ethanol production facilities, which
have a combined annual production capacity of 200 million gallons. The
facilities in operation are located in Boardman, Oregon, Burley, Idaho and
Stockton, California, and one idled facility is located in Madera, California.
The facilities are near their respective fuel and feed customers, offering
significant timing, transportation cost and logistical advantages. Pacific
Ethanol's subsidiary, Kinergy Marketing LLC, markets ethanol from Pacific
Ethanol's managed plants and from other third-party production facilities, and
another subsidiary, Pacific Ag. Products, LLC, markets WDG. For more
information please visit www.pacificethanol.net.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of
1995

With the exception of historical information, the matters discussed in this
press release including, without limitation, Pacific Ethanol's ability to have
constructed a cellulosic ethanol biorefinery at its Stockton, CA facility,
which requires, among other things, that Sweetwater Energy obtain permits and
financing; Pacific Ethanol's ability to successfully produce cellulosic
ethanol and the effects of producing cellulosic ethanol; and supply amounts
are forward-looking statements and considerations that involve a number of
risks and uncertainties. The actual future results of Pacific Ethanol could
differ from those statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such
differences include, but are not limited to, the ability to obtain financing
and permits; unexpected economic and market conditions; technical difficulties
that may arise in the production of cellulosic ethanol; changes in
governmental regulations and policies; and other events, factors and risks
previously and from time to time disclosed in Pacific Ethanol's filings with
the Securities and Exchange Commission including, specifically, those factors
set forth in the "Risk Factors" section contained in Pacific Ethanol's most
recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission on April 1, 2013.

CONTACT: Sweetwater, Inc.
         500 Lee Road
         Rochester, NY 14606
         Sweetwater.us
        
         Media Contact:
         Jonathan Sherwood
         (585) 647-5765
         jsherwood@Sweetwater.us
        
        
         Pacific Ethanol, Inc.
         Company IR Contact:
         916-403-2755
         866-508-4969
        
         Media Contact:
         Paul Koehler
         916-403-2790
         paulk@pacificethanol.net
        
         IR Agency Contact:
         Becky Herrick, LHA
         415-433-3777

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