This article first appeared in our International Women’s Day issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 08 March 2023. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
The UK’s sustainable spirits sector is booming as shoppers continue to seek ethically sourced products that don’t put undue stress on the environment or exploit workers.
In tandem with growing demand, many distilleries are choosing to focus on sustainable production methods – from powering their processes with renewable energy to reducing waste and looking for new ways to improve their packaging.
This sector-wide shift towards sustainability has been buoyed by the actions of some major players in the market.
Diageo’s 10-year sustainability plan includes a target to become net zero in its operations by the end of the decade.
Four of its famous Scotch whisky distilleries have been awarded gold certification from Green Tourism for initiatives including biodiversity enhancement, energy efficiency, local sourcing, community engagement, plastics reduction and sending zero waste to landfill.
Similarly, the world’s only distillery for Absolut vodka, in the seaside town of Åhus in the south of Sweden, has been carbon neutral since 2013.
Based on the latest BIER benchmark (2017 figures), the distillery is 60% more energy efficient than the average distillery.
Absolut, owned by Pernod Ricard, is on track to completely phase out fossil fuels by 2025; according to BIER, CO2 emissions from production per litre of alcohol distilled are already 98% less than those of the average distillery.
These are just two of the household names helping to demonstrates how that sustainability is possible, desirable and can be achieved at scale.
The Absolut distillery alone produces 100 million litres of vodka per year, meaning improved efficiency is already making a tangible difference.
At the same time it has never been more important for independent spirits and non-alcoholic spirits to be part of the conversation – to push for improved sustainability and transparency in the industry and to collaborate to share knowledge.
Positive Spirits (Saturday 17 June) will be the first event to showcase the greenest and most exciting drinks businesses on the market.
The new one-day event experience, from sustainable events agency Legacy Events, will bring the world’s best sustainable spirits to White Rabbit Studios in London’s Shoreditch.
Dubbed ‘the tonic to your gin’, the event invites drinks enthusiasts – from distillers, buyers, bartenders and venue reps to ambassadors and
conscious consumers – to mix with peers, learn where their sustainability journey could go next and network with industry leaders who have expertise to share.
Attendees can expect tastings and live mixology stations, sustainable world food, live music and entertainment, drinks, networking, interactive workshops and a future-looking programme of conference sessions.
Those attending will get a chance to win a goodie bag with an assortment of special gifts and discount codes.
‘We’re excited to announce the launch of Positive Spirits, a drinks event with a difference – with a dedicated focus on sustainability’, said Legacy founder and CEO Abena Fairweather. ‘We look forward to showcasing high-quality innovators and changemakers, as well as an exciting day for both trade and the public.’
Positive Spirits will feature a selection of top-quality sponsors who are driving change in the ever-changing market.
30 handpicked sustainable and ethically conscious drinks brands and products will also be exhibited.
Now’s the time to celebrate all the positive changes in the drinks market, and raise a toast to the distillers and brands working hard to reduce their impact on the planet.