Sustainability is more important than ever when it comes to mezcal. Because if we’re not careful, we could drink Mexico out of agave. Oaxacan-based Sombra is leading the way by growing their organic agave naturally, using rainwater collected from the roof, sourcing sustainably grown firewood from certified forests and composting the used agave for local farmers to use. The distillery is also installing solar panels on the distillery’s roof and making bricks from agave byproducts to build houses in the community. The first house made with those bricks is set to be finished on Earth Day.
Ron Barceló ($20 for the Gran Anejo)
This Caribbean rum recently went carbon neutral by using solar and biomass energy, recycling and reusing waste, and using eco-friendly packaging. According to the brand, it is the first ever rum to reach carbon neutral status. Try it in an Earth Day Mojito made with mint from your herb garden, and be sure to save the spent lime hulls for a big batch of Trash Tiki’s citrus stock.
Made from locally-sourced Idaho russet potatoes and water from a local aquifer, Simple Vodka is distilled just once through an ultra-efficient distillation system, which gets 25 percent of its energy from wind power. The company also converts potato byproducts into feed for animals and recycles wastewater. Simple even donates 20 meals to hungry Americans for each bottle of vodka produced, so you can feel even better about drinking it.
This ultra-creative line of vermouths based out of New York is made with a white wine base sourced from Red Hook Winery in Brooklyn, and flavored primarily with foraged ingredients or those purchased from non-GMO farms. No sugar or additives go into the vermouth, which comes in flavors like Pear Ginger, Butternut Squash, Beet Eucalyptus and Rhubarb.
Even giant brands like Bombay are going the sustainable route. The Bombay Sapphire distillery at Laverstoke Mill in England is powered in part by the nearby River Test. Its heat and hot water come from a biomass boiler, which is fueled by spent botanicals. And the ash from that biomass boiler is used as fertilizer on nearby farms. The company has also worked to support the local wildlife. They’ve installed bat boxes to encourage breeding, introduced aquatic plants to the river and built a fish guard to protect wildlife from the hydroelectric turbine.
Based in a converted 100-year-old barn on a Vermont farm, Whistle Pig is a true grain-to-glass operation—and yes, there are actual pigs involved. The company grows its own rye (which is a naturally sustainable crop), feeds the spent grain to the property’s Mangalitsa and Kune Kune pigs, and uses estate-grown oak trees to produce its barrels.