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. 

Greener ingredients

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.

Eco agave

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. 

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Waste warriors

Italian company Spirito Fiorentino is promoting grappa, a native brandy made from grape waste, as an inherently sustainable spirit. It’s creation, Apparg, is produced from grape pomace sourced from around the Tuscan wine region and is packaged in recycled and recyclable bottles with a biodegradable activated charcoal stopper.

British brand, Hawksbill Rum, flavours its pineapple and mango rums with surplus, otherwise waste fruits. It also donates 10% of its profits to help protect the future of the critically endangered namesake hawksbill sea turtle and packages its liquor in recycled bottles affixed with sugarcane-based paper labels and non-toxic plant-based ink. 

UK producer, Penrhos, is another good example, whose raspberry gin is flavoured with ‘wonky’ berries. Its bottles are also made from recyclable and recycled aluminium, the first spirit company in the UK to do so.

ECO DRINKS Hawksbill

Not just spirits

Beer brands are also thinking about their carbon footprint and how they can strive to be carbon neutral. A portion of the Wicked Weed Appalachia Session IPA proceeds go to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservatory to preserve almost 75,000 acres of native plant and animal habitat, clean water and farmland.

New Belgium Brewing have been dedicated to environmentalism since its birth in 1991. They divert 99.9% of their waste from landfills, power their brewery with wind and solar power, and have donated millions to climate and environmental causes through their membership in ‘1% For The Planet’.

By using surplus bread to replace barley, Toast Ale uses less land, water and energy to avoid carbon emissions. And by giving all profits to charity and not shareholders, they fund systemic change to fix the food system too – already donating over 45,000 meals and volunteering over 100 days. 

And of course, Brewdog has been working with sustainability expert Professor Mile Berners -Lee for the past 3 years as its lead independent scientific advisor. In 2020, the brand became certified carbon negative, the world’s first international beer business to reach this status.


For brands who have sustainability at their core, and currently deliver it through choices made in the design the brands physical, it’s important that the same approach is made to the drink’s selection. With so many eco-focused drinks coming to market, it is now more than ever possible to ensure restaurants, bars and pubs can deliver a more environmental offering.

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