Sorry to be a literal buzzkill — but booze leaves a huge carbon footprint. The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable calculated that a standard 750 ml bottle of alcohol produces around six pounds of carbon dioxide. The agriculture, brewing, distilling, packaging, transportation, and storage that alcohol requires all contribute to its environmental impact. Does that mean you need to resort to a dry New Year’s Eve — or maybe a moonshine operation in your basement? Not necessarily. We’ve rounded up six familiar sustainable alcohol brands that use eco-friendly practices to help offset their carbon footprint, from composting leftover ingredients to employing natural pest control strategies.
This way, you can ring in 2020 knowing your merrymaking choices have gone toward preserving the planet for the years to come.
Depending how you feel about owls, this is one of the cutest (or creepiest) ways a vineyard could protect their grapes: To avoid harmful chemicals, Chandon has owl boxes to encourage the lil' fellas to nest and work as a natural pest control strategy. Everyone wins, and we get the buzz we deserve.
Patrón set the standard for sustainability way before it became cool. Their distillery (called the Hacienda) in Jalisco, Mexico composts and recycles everything from the leftover agave fibers to the water used in the production process; it's treated and used to cool and clean the property.
A titan of social cultural sustainability, as well, the hacienda employs a large percentage of the community it sits in, and offers employees competitive wages, education opportunities, and free transportation. Who knew tequila could be so grown and responsible?
This gloriously minimalistic spirit is made from just three ingredients: locally-grown heirloom sugar cane, yeast, and filtered rainforest canopy water sourced directly from the distillery’s farm, making its production a more eco-conscious endeavor.
A few years ago, Nolet's headquarters installed a solar panel system on the roof that provides 75% of their energy needs. The system generates approximately enough electricity to offset 18,000 gallons of gas (or avoid 122 tons of emissions).
All of that, plus the potential for the perfect Gin Fizz — tried and tested — puts this bottle in our top six.
The classic cognac
Carbon emissions are one of the biggest enemies of the environment and with big booze brands, transportation is half the battle. Hennessy mostly operates electric vehicles — 80% of their entire fleet, actually — which has, in turn, cut their share of CO2 emissions by 80%.
If you want to go classic and holiday-appropriate uppity, this cognac is an infallible, with bold notes of fruit, oak, and spices.
Reyka has a rep for being an exceptionally "pure" pick; it's naturally filtered through pure lava rock in Iceland, yielding a flavor that's, put simply, what vodka's supposed to taste like. In other words, you could likely do a freezing cold shot of this without a chaser and not feel like you just downed rubbing alcohol.
The brand also boasts eco-conscious production practices such as a distillation process powered by geothermal energy (heat that naturally occurs in the sub-surface of the earth.