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The country’s first carbon-negative gins are a blueprint for success in the race to net zero
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Cooper King has created England's first carbon-negative gins

This article first appeared in our ‘Why organic is the answer’ issue of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 03 September 2021. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Yorkshire-based Cooper King Distillery’s award-winning Dry and Herb gins are now carbon negative, so you can now enjoy a guilt-free tipple by loving gin and the planet in equal measure.

In support of the government’s target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, for every bottle of gin sold, Cooper King removes more carbon from the atmosphere than is emitted in production.

The gin that plants trees

Each bottle of Cooper King gin also plants one square metre of native broadleaf UK woodland, thanks to the eco distillery’s charity partnership with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.

Woodland creation promotes biodiversity, reduces flooding, sequesters carbon and creates beautiful outdoor spaces for communities to enjoy. Each square metre of woodland has the potential to lock away an extra 16.6kg of carbon over the next 50 years.

Refills and renewables

Innovation is in the DNA at Cooper King; it is England’s only self-built whisky and gin distillery and one of only a handful in the country to run on 100% green energy. It was also the first distillery in Europe to join 1% for the Planet.

Cooper King’s lightweight bottles are made from 55% recycled glass and delivered in plastic-free packaging, using a clever origami-style recycled card box developed with a local manufacturer.

To further slash packaging, in 2018 Cooper King introduced the country’s first gin refill scheme. The ‘bottle for life’ initiative reduces the use of new bottles, keeps waste out of landfill and helps raise awareness of the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra.

Keeping it local

The wheat that forms the base of Cooper King’s gin is all grown within Yorkshire, with some even grown in the field next to the distillery – just 20 metres from the gin stills.

Buying close to home supports local farmers and significantly reduces the environmental footprint of one of the gin’s key ingredients.

‘Now, if we opted for organic wheat, it would have to come from Europe, massively increasing its carbon footprint’, explains Chris Jaume, Cooper King’s co-founder and director. ‘We are currently exploring how we can encourage more Yorkshire farmers to grow organic wheat, so we can use organic grain that doesn’t have to travel 1,000 miles to get here.’

The distillery produces its own honey, basil and lemongrass from on-site beehives and gardens, with spent botanicals composted or sent to a local bakery to be upcycled into delicious breads. Zero waste is sent to landfill.

As part of its commitment to long-term sustainability, the Cooper King team also recently planted juniper bushes in the grounds to further reduce the carbon footprint of its future gins.

Turning its signature gins carbon negative is a significant step in the team’s plan to become a carbon-negative distillery. We can’t wait to see what this forward-thinking company does next.

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