This eco trend was mirrored at the Imbibe 2023 event, where brands showcased their ethically sourced ingredients, eco farming methods and progressive waste reduction – all in the aim of combating increasing consumer concern. We’re sharing a few examples of how alcohol brands are taking steps to be more environmentally conscious.
US Virgin Islands-based drinks brand, Mutiny Island, makes its vodka from Caribbean rainwater and breadfruit, a climate-resilient, carbon-sequestering ingredient. In addition to its original spirit, flavoured options include drinks infused with Ginger & Turmeric, Puerto Rico Coffee, and Smoked Hot Pepper.
In the UK, Alchemy Distillery’s aged spirit is produced in the same way as rum but is made using molasses from sugar beets grown seven miles from the distillery, as opposed to sugarcane shipped from oversees. This has allowed the brand to drastically cut its ingredient airmiles whilst creating a uniquely flavoured tipple. The sugar industry has long had difficulties with its transparency around work conditions and pay, so using sugar beets has the added benefit of avoiding these negative associations, as well as requiring less water than sugarcane to create.
Mexican agave spirits makers, Mijenta, have a line of sustainable tequila produced without pesticides and herbicides. The certified B Corp (the first tequila brand to be accredited) has so far offset over 700,000kg of CO2 through various forest related environmental projects. It’s packaging labels and notecards are made from recycled agave, while its boxes are comprised of biodegradable recycled paper. It also leaves 10-20% of its agave plants to flower, which causes the eventual death of the plant (something many producers would avoid) to allow for greater genetic variation.
Meanwhile, agave-based spirit sotol is being touted as a more sustainable alternative to tequila and mezcal thanks to its shorter maturation period and the practice of leaving the roots upon harvesting. Northern Mexican sotol brand, Nocheluna, made its UK debut at the Imbibe show this year – we’ll see how this grows in the UK market over the next few years.