Sustainability in Booze News, May 2021

Here are some stories on sustainability in the booze world you might want to read: Why Packaging Is Wine’s New Sustainability Frontier, Liquor.com How producers are choosing locally-made glass, lighter bottles and aluminum cans, and less-wasteful packaging. Bartenders Guide to Foraging Nettles, DiffordsGuide.com And how to make nettle cordial. Why Spirits and Wine Producers Are Turning to Regenerative Farming, Liquor.com "A new laser-focus on the rhizosphere—the soil and its microorganisms—by farmers and winemakers is analogous to the surge of interest in the human microbiome among nutrition and health advocates, with the producers linking soil health to the overall wellbeing of... Read more →


Sidewalk Chalk From Eggshells

I attempted to make sidewalk chalk from eggshells, following the advice linked to from the Eggs and Sustainability page here on CocktailGreen. The basic procedure is: Collect eggshells, boil them to clean them. Mix with flour, water, and food coloring. Put into a tube and allow to dry. I did the above, and spoiler: it turned out bad. In the first place, I buy mostly brown eggs (to encourage biodiversity) and thus the eggshells started with a beige base rather than white. The second and far worse thing was: they smelled awful! They took a long time to dry (I... Read more →


Carbon and Now Plastic Offsets: Something is Better than Nothing

I recently saw a distillery that sent a press release announcing they were going "plastic neutral" by using the rePurpose program. It works a lot like carbon offsets: You use their tool to calculate your plastic use (for all the plastic that can't be recycled or eliminated), and then purchase "plastic offsets" to fund waste recycling organizations. Carbon offset programs are available for the carbon created by one's business, home, airline flights, events, etc. This seems exactly the same. On the plus side, as long as the offset organizations are funneling the money to actual pro-environmental causes with low overhead... Read more →


Cherries Used in One Drink Three Ways at Crossroads in Camden

I first learned about Crossroads Bar in Camden [website][facebook][instagram], London from this story in Bar Magazine. The bar is doing lots with sustainability initiatives. I have emailed for more information but in the meantime I wanted to share an approach they're using toward sustainability. There are several pathways toward creating sustainable cocktails: Analyze the waste stream of the bar and see what might be repurposed Analyze a single cocktail and see what can be reduced in its waste. For example, take the top-selling cocktail on the menu and see if you can reduce its fresh citrus, use a base spirit... Read more →


Where Does Your Sugar Come From?

I recently read this article on FoodPrint.org called "Searching for Ethical Sugar." It's a look into the source and sustainability of the sugars we use in drinks. There is a lot of good information in it, so I encourage you to read it. I've pasted some highlights below, but the short answer is that it's a good idea to buy Fairtrade and/or Organic sugar. Unlike these other crops, though, sugar — the stand-alone product as well as the ingredient — is lacking in traceability. Even sugar that claims it was made in the USA may not have been grown within... Read more →


A Citrus-Free Cocktail Menu at Bulrush in St Louis

St. Louis restaurant Bulrush features "Ozark cuisine" and an extremely low-waste ethos, including ingredients in the cocktail program. The press release states: From house-made cider plus vinegars/shrubs made with gathered local ingredients like pawpaws, spicebush and okra, unlikely spirit infusions like stinging nettle cordial, brown butter-washed rum and Chanterelle mushroom whiskey, as well as the savory incorporation of items like chicken stock for their "Chicken Soup for the Grown Up Soul” drink and more, the cocktails and spirit-free options at this local hot spot are worth taking a closer look at. The most interesting aspect perhaps is that nothing on... Read more →


Compostable Plastics for Liquor Bottles Pros and Cons

An article in PlasticsToday is called "Bacardi’s Foray into Sustainable Packaging Has Some Challenges." It talks about compostable plastics that the company has announced they'll be switching to within a few years. While probably not the exact type of compostable plastic that compostable take-out food containers are made of, they're related, or rather they could have related problems. Recyclable plastic can go into recycling bins. Compostable plastic can be composted in gardens, or put into industrial/curbside compost bins only in some cities. I checked with my city, San Francisco, and their website says that "Products clearly labeled “Compostable”" can go... Read more →


A Publication About the Environmental Impact of Spirits and Bars

I was sent an email with a publication made by Ecochain, a company that can "measure your entire company’s environmental impact on material, product or process level and take the most effective measures." It's a quick and good read on some of the topics impacting our industry. The table of contents is in the first image below. They released an online magazine Spirits of the future: How sustainable changemakers are turning the liquor industry upside down that features some examples of producers and bar/event owners in the industry. You may recognize a few of them such as Avallen Calvados, Good... Read more →


The Sustainability of Paper Liquor Bottles

I recently came across this story in Packaging Digest, which is called "Are Paper Bottles Sustainable and Practical?" It features an interview with Lux Research Associate Drishti Masand. It addresses several of the issues I've been thinking about with paper bottles, as a few brands have announced they'll be moving some of their packaging to paper bottles. We'll start with his conclusion: Many companies are adopting solutions that solve the issue of plastics waste; however, they create a new set of sustainability challenges. All the alternative materials solutions have a separate set of problems associated with them; thus, they simply... Read more →


A New Sustainability-Focused Hong Kong Bar is Getting Plenty of Attention

A new bar in Hong Kong is getting a lot of attention for sustainability, and it hasn't even opened yet. Hong Kong’s first eco-conscious bar Two new bars Penicillin and Dead & to open in Central this autumn The ‘Noma of nightlife’? Hong Kong’s first sustainable bar, The Penicillin, is celebrity bartender Agung Prabowo’s new concept after quitting Asia’s 50 Best-winner The Old Man The Founders Of The Old Man To Open Two New Bars, Penicillin And Dead & Penicillin will have a fermentation lab: To that end, the bar will also feature The Penicillin Lab, a focal point that... Read more →