This year marks almost 50 years since the first Earth Day celebration. But we believe environmentalism should be an every day occurrence, not just once a year.
Here’s a look at some of our favorite eco-minded producers in the wine, beer and spirits world that put the environment at the forefront of their philosophy.
Hops & Grain Brewing
Based in Austin, Texas, Hops & Grain has been making beer since 2009. In addition to crafting award-winning brews, the producer is also committed to bettering their environment and community.
Hops & Grain donates 1% of their profits to environmental causes like the Texas Land Conservancy, which works to protect the environment from land fragmentation and poorly-planned development.
Their sustainability efforts also benefit our canine friends. During the brewing process, sugary liquid or wort is extracted from the grains. What’s left is fiber, protein and other nutrients.
Rather than throw out the spent grain, the brewery mixes the leftovers with whole wheat flower, cinnamon, eggs and a few other ingredients to make Brew Biscuits.
Their resident expert, a golden retriever named Suzy, taste tests the treats before they go to market.
Based in Los Angeles, Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew founded Greenbar in 2004, making it the city’s first distillery since prohibition.
In 2008, the spirits producer partnered with Sustainable Harvest International, an organization that helps preserve and rebuild rainforests by working with farmers in Central America to promote sustainable, organic farming methods.
Since forming the partnership, Greenbar has planted 786,578 trees in Central America.
The distillery also packages their spirits made with certified organic ingredients in lightweight bottles with 100% post consume waste recycled labels.
The winery recognizes that consumers are growing more conscious about the food and drinks they consume. Instead of eliminating weeds with harsh chemicals, the vineyard has placed special emphasis on under-canopy management, and plows as often as necessary to control growth without the use of herbicides.
Under-canopy management also severs surface roots from the vine, forcing the remaining roots to go deeper into the sub-soil. This gives the plants access to sub-surface ground water, which helps the vines better endure droughts without requiring extra irrigation.
Row middles are also sown annually with grasses and nitrogen-corrective rhizomes. By doing this the winery not only betters surface drainage but allows for biodiversity of beneficial insects and micro-organisms that can help prevent vineyard pests naturally.
This producer of both sparkling and still wines has been part of Yountville, California, since 1973, and now has estates in Carneros and Mt Veeder.
The winery takes many steps to uphold these certifications, Some include irrigating vineyards entirely with reclaimed or collected water, or employing the use of owl boxes to encourage birds of prey to nest and act as natural pest control. The winery also uses technology such as Electrodialysis, an energy-efficient alternative to cold stabilization, which saves enough energy each year to provide power to 55 homes.
Housed in a refurbished funeral home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Brewery Vivant became the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified micro-brewery in the world in 2012.
The building has high efficiency heating/cooling units with CO2 sensors that result in an energy savings of 7%, while their cistern collects rainwater runoff and irrigates Vivant’s landscape while simultaneously relieving pressure from the city’s wastewater treatment facilities.
The brewery is also committed 100% transparency. Each year they publish a Beer the Change report that highlights their progress toward their sustainable goals.