3 Sustainable Alcohol Brands to Sip this Holiday Season

Cheers to sustainability!

by Eileen Opromollo and Jessica Toscano Nov 19, 2020

Plant in cocktail glass at bar
Ash Edmonds

Sustainability has entered the lexicon of everyday, eco-conscious conversation now more than ever, and for more reasons than to protect the garnish on our favorite holiday cocktails, breweries and distilleries are amping up their game to leave less of an ecological footprint.

Whether fall moves you to imbibe your spirits for more enjoyment from seasonal favorites or help you sustain your sanity at the holiday spread, celebrate this year’s festivities with brands that reach your table through mindful, responsible means. It’s time we raise the bar on our bar!

Why sustainability?

From distilling and brewing processes to the packaging and shipping of products, distilleries and breweries utilize vast amounts of resources. According to Brewers Association, breweries alone rely on around seven barrels of water to craft a single barrel of beer. For a mainstream brand like Bud Light whose production reaches roughly 30 million barrels of beer annually, that’s about 6.5 billion gallons of water, enough to supply around 60,000 families. But these figures only represent the water required in the brewing process and don't include the amount used for cleaning, cooling, and packaging, which can lead to an upward of 7.4 billion additional gallons or more, depending on the brewery's size and yearly production.

Because the world operates on natural resources, without conservation efforts and more eco-friendly practices in place (and because of the above figures for just one brand), we run the risks of resource exhaustion and global warming, both of which can greatly impact life as we know it. This is where sustainability comes into play.

As part of the bedrock of environmental law since the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the idea of sustainability is centered around the maintenance of natural resources for present and future generations—although it’s since been redefined to encompass environmental, social, and economic impact aka the “three pillars” of sustainable means. Today, organizations often refer to one or all three pillars when making green decisions.

For mindful companies, this usually translates to water and energy conservation practices. And while more businesses are enacting eco-friendly policies and communicating their efforts in annual reports—a nearly 70 percent report increase since 2011, according to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index—there is no law to secure the use of these practices, which means it’s up to us to keep companies in place.