Like most industries, the liquor industry has a substantial effect on the environment through negative effects like carbon emissions, energy resources, packaging, water waste etc. However, brands have made conscious efforts to limit their carbon footprint by finding ways to use less water, responsibly sourcing ingredients using energy-efficient resources to power distilleries, recycling waste and even using sustainable, biodegradable packaging. Check out some of the sustainable liquor brands to indulge in on this Environment Day.
Vodka has one of the most energy-intrusive making processes, making it difficult to produce eco-friendly vodka. However, Absolut has taken on the challenge and has since come to be known as one of the top eco-friendly vodka brands with an energy-efficient distillery with 98 per cent fewer emissions as compared to other distilleries. While not fully carbon neutral yet, the distillery aims to achieve zero emissions and zero waste becoming 100 per cent recyclable by the year 2040. Apart from eco-friendly practices, Absolut also partakes in a number of initiatives like Water For People, an initiative dedicated to bringing clean water to communities around the world, and The Green Hustle which works towards reducing waste created within the hospitality industry. More recently and just in time for World Environment Day, the brand collaborated with Pabco, the Paper Bottle Company to unveil a new 100% bio-based packaging for its famed Absolut Vodka made from 57 per cent paper with a plastic lining.
El Tesoro Tequila
All tequila has to abide by one very strict law, it must come from agave grown in the Mexican state of Jalisco. While this law protects the craft of tequila, it also poses a danger of extinction of the long nose bat that pollinates agave plants. Not to mention the pounds of pulp and acidic waste left behind after the production of tequila. El Tesoro Tequila makes conscious efforts towards sustainability by composting all of its organic waste. Additionally, the brand also allows 5 per cent of its agave plants to flower in an attempt to prevent the extinction of the long nose bat and also ensure the future growth of agave plants.
Flor de Caña
Flor de Caña is a Fair-Trade-certified rum that earned its carbon-neutral certification in 2020. Having been in the industry for over 130 years, the distillery has been using 100 per cent renewable energy for a decade now, in addition to employing 300-odd labour, social, and environmental standards which helped earn its carbon neutral status. While playing its part in sustainable practices, the Flor de Caña family also plants about 50,000 trees annually to play a part in protecting the environment. The brand has reportedly planted a total of 800,000 trees since 2005 and pledges to plant close to 1 million trees by the year 2025.
Gray Whale Gin
California-based Golden State Distillery’s Gray Whale Gin was created to protect and promote the safety of grey whales. Every year, grey whales are said to make a 12,000-mile migration from Baja Peninsula to the Arctic. Every year, Gray Whale donates 1 per cent of all sales (including profits) towards Oceania a non-profit initiative working to end overfishing and gillnetting practices which are a major cause for the endangering of grey whales during their migration. The gin is also sustainably distilled and packed in a recyclable bottle with a 100 per cent biodegradable cork and organic paint. Once empty, the bottle can be sent back to the brand who will transform it into a candle for you.
Boasting one of the largest distilleries in the world, Maker’s Mark is now also one of the largest distilleries to have a B Corp certification. The B Corp stamp highlights a series of environmental, social and legal standards on the basis of accountability and transparency. Maker’s Mark earned its certification in 2022 through a series of initiatives including an on-site recycling program, a solar energy-powered factory, a distillery-wide zero landfill initiative and the establishment of a 33-acre water sanctuary program at its Star Hill farm.
Another B Corp-certified spirit, Mermaid Gin by Isle of Wight Distillery boasts one of the prettiest packaging ever. The brand believes in living in harmony with nature which is why each of its bottles is 100 per cent recyclable, with sustainably sourced wooden cork, a paper seal made from compost and a recyclable paper label. In 2020, the brand installed a closed-loop cooling system in the factory to ensure less energy was used in addition to the 100 per cent renewable energy used. The brand aims to become a net zero, energy-efficient brand by 2025 by initiating practices like reducing the volume of glass in its bottles, eliminating the use of plastic and introducing energy-efficient stills.