8 Sustainable Spirit Brands
By Laura Fagan Published April 2022
As we witness global resources dwindling, populations growing and the climate changing - industries are imagining and innovating methods to optimize resources, reduce waste and repair our planet. Environmental sustainability is more than a trending hashtag, it truly is an investment towards a viable future on earth that demands attention and action. This Earth Day, we are highlighting brands that are distilling exceptional spirits while deepening their commitment to sustainability, working to respect the land and finding new life for waste.
Quarter Horse Bourbon
Produced by Green River Spirits Company, Quarter Horse Bourbon is a brand that boasts sustainability efforts dating back to 1885 when they were issued Kentucky’s 10th oldest distilling license. For over a century, Green River Spirits Company has been distilled using local corn from farms within a 50-mile radius and limestone filtered water. Green River’s earth conscious efforts focus on renewable energy, strategic sourcing and recyclable packaging. From on-site beehives to electric forklifts and fully recyclable corrugated boxes – Green River’s environmental commitment is clear and commendable.
With their ingredients and heritage tied to the land, the House of Rémy Martin is committed to sustainability and combating environmental change. In 2007, the luxury cognac producer announced an action plan which set in motion targeted steps toward fully sustainable agricultural operations. Today, partnered with the Alliance Fine Champagne (AFC), Rémy Martin is the lead land-friendly growing estate in Charente, France. Also acting as an agent of change, Rémy Martin has inspired and encouraged sustainability efforts among their growing partners to expand their positive reach.
Though their efforts and partnerships, in 2012, Rémy became the first winegrowing estate in Charente to earn the High Environmental Value (HEV) certification. This top-tier recognition, awarded by France’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food, recognizes farms who have demonstrated a promise to the land by promoting biodiversity and practicing ecologically friendly fertilization, irrigation and growing methods. Operating under their ‘Sustainable Exception’ framework, the estate looks ahead toward future goals, including 100% recyclable packaging by 2024 and a 50% carbon emission reduction by 2030, as they continue to nurture the soil and the vine.
Mount Gay Rum
In Barbados, Mount Gay Rum is on a mission to become the top sustainable high-end rum house with a roadmap leading them to zero carbon emissions by 2030. Using coral filtered water for distillation, Mount Gay has a clear connection to the ocean and a shared promise to protect and preserve it. By teaming up with 4Ocean, Mount Gay has funded the removal of more than 20,000 pounds of trash from the world’s oceans. On land, the House folds in steps toward solar energy usage, water conservation, earth-friendly agriculture and community support as they work to set a precedent in rum making, renewable energy and recycling programs. For your next tropical cocktail – consider pouring a feel good and eco-friendly Mount Gay Rum.
Olmeca Altos Tequila
With an aim to distill the highest quality tequila while simultaneously caring for the environment – Olmeca Altos is a brand that is working beyond reducing and reusing. Sustainability, to Olmeca Altos, is a promise to the earth to strive for growth and change in all that they do. Their ‘We Care’ philosophy encompasses a dedication to the land, the plant, production, packaging and their people.
Tequila is distilled from the blue agave plant, which takes over a decade to develop for harvesting. Olmeca Altos employs simple, yet sustainable methods in their fields to mature and hand-cut the agave while optimizing their resources and finding new life for waste as biofuel or construction material. In addition to their investment in the land, Olmeca Altos invests in their communities through job creation and promotion, paying livable wages and creating educational programs for bartenders. When you’re thirsty for your next margarita - pour Olmeca Altos and you can toast to both community and conservation.
Brother’s Bond Bourbon
Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley have built a brand committed to reversing climate change while delivering an exceptional spirit. On screen, they may play vampires, but off-screen they are real life environmentalists taking action against global warming. Brother’s Bond is a smooth, high-rye bourbon that is sold with a promise to the future. A portion of their profits are used to support and expand regenerative farming methods which focus on shifting commercial farming practices, like planting cover crops, to increase carbon drawdown into the soil. Once in the ground, carbon helps to regenerate the soil and promote water retention which then nurtures living plants to further reduce emissions. So, craft your next old fashioned or one of Brother’s Bond craft cocktails with a bourbon that promotes balance.
The Botanist Gin
The Botanist is doing much more than distilling world-class gin off the coast of Scotland, they are expressing and protecting the unique ecosystem of the Isle of Islay. 22 sustainably foraged botanicals were used to craft a recipe that was meant to capture the essence of Islay which has persisted along with a commitment to long-term sustainability. The distillery is devoted to decarbonizing their production processes, supporting plant biodiversity on the isle with their formation of The Botanist Foundation, and also reducing waste. In May of 2020, the Bruichladdich Distillery, which produces The Botanist Gin, became the first and only Scottish distillery to gain B Corp status, a hard-earned certification recognizing a dedication to high standards of environmental and social efficacy. With an unwavering commitment to Islay and the earth, The Botanist is a gin you can feel proud to pour, from a bottle of 100% recycled glass.
With their pledge to sustainability expressed in their name, Purity Vodka is dedicated to protecting the integrity of the land and its future. The Purity Distillery is located in Southern Sweden, the region responsible for the country’s agriculture and grain cultivation. Purity distills their highly rated vodka, including Purity Connoisseur 51 which received a 95-point rating from Wine Enthusiast, with green energy, including power from local wind farms, and limited waste. The locally sourced and organic winter wheat and malted barley is grown without harmful chemicals allowing mash to be given to local ranches to help feed livestock. All bottling takes place close to the port which allows for the least amount of transportation for all materials. Additionally, Purity has made intentional changes in regard to their shipping materials and recycling efforts as they continuously pursue opportunities for sustainability. With a tagline of, ‘Crafted for Connoisseurs’ and their earth-friendly efforts, enjoy your next vodka cocktail or martini with Purity Vodka.
Redwood Empire Whiskey
From Sonoma County, California, Redwood Empire is a brand inspired by and invested in nature – particularly the planting and protection of California’s giants. Each of their whiskeys wear the name of an ancient redwood tree, like Pipe Dream and Lost Monarch. The distillery is driven, in part, by the ideology and life work of John Muir, a passionate naturalist who ignited conservation efforts and the creation of the National Park Service. This brand honors the wonder of the Northern California Giant Redwood ecosystem in name and in numbers. Sustainability and accountability are at the heart of every process from water and energy preservation to repurposing mash as local livestock feed.
Redwood Empire plants a tree for every bottle of their whiskey sold which helps to sustain earth’s climate by sequestering carbon and supporting reforestation. Redwood is also partnered with Trees for the Future and One Tree Planted, nonprofit organizations that share in the work to plant trees across the globe. According to Redwood Empire’s website, Redwood has currently planted 347,896 trees with a goal of reaching 500,000 by this summer. So, grab a bottle and “Drink Among Giants” while helping Redwood reach their goal.
You can help protect the earth by sipping on other sustainable brands found here or visit your local ABC Fine Wine & Spirits store to shop eco-friendly spirits.