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Sustainability in Spirits Production

May 10, 2017

In a recent Facebook thread, sustainability in the spirits industry was the subject of a vigorous discussion. There were a lot of opinions about the “greenwashing” of the booze industry, and a general consensus that many brands and their ambassadors were promoting their products as sustainable, green, and eco-friendly, even in cases where that was not true.

The question of sustainability is a complicated one, and in order to truly know if a particular product is sustainable, you need to ask a ton of questions. We are essentially talking about a product that starts out as a plant and ends up in a cocktail, often thousands of miles away from where it was produced, so to say it’s complicated would be a massive understatement.

In the two images below, I’ve attempted to capture the relevant production steps where decisions are made that affect the environment. I have likely missed a few things in my haste, so please add your comments below, and I will release an edited version at a later date. Despite any omissions, the flow sheets should nevertheless help folks visualize the steps in the process of getting booze from the field to the barstool, and provide some food for thought.

Oh, and the next time you’re being pitched on a product’s environmental credentials, ask them about CO2 capture, anaerobic digestion, or how they process their spent wash or something. Their heads may very well explode!

Cheers,
Josh

(tap/click the images to enlarge)

how-green-is-your-distilled-spirit

how-green-is-your-distilled-spirit

PDF Version here (suitable for printing)

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