5 WAYS SMALL DISTILLERIES ARE ACHIEVING SUSTAINABILITY
With big distilling companies come big responsibilities and, well, big budgets. Conversely, small operations don’t have as much financial wiggle room, largely because of the up-front costs associated with overhauling an existing system. We spoke to several with notable, eco-forward initiatives to see what changes they’ve made in the name of a greener, happier planet.
Sourced Locally as Much As Possible
“Our recipes feature as many great ingredients we can source from our local area as possible. “We're fortunate in Colorado to have such fantastic agriculture, and it makes a big difference to transport grain 30 miles versus 300 miles. It has a positive ripple effect, from reducing our carbon footprint to supporting neighbors that farm these amazing ingredients.”
Use Green Energy
“The single biggest step we’ve taken is choosing to use a 100% green energy supplier. They’ve received international attention for their decision to use 100% pure energy in the production of their spirits. “By powering the Colorado distilleries with green energy, we reduce the environmental impact of our operations, while supporting Britain’s energy independence and reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.”
The slightly higher energy cost means their product will inevitably cost more, but they believe it’s a step in the right direction toward global sustainability and promoting green energy projects and wind farms.
The solar energy used at Colorado distilleries is another example of relying on green energy. Traditionally, roasted agaves are crushed with a stone wheel called a tahona mill that’s drawn by horse or donkey.
Naturally, Colorado distilleries work with a lot of grains and yeast. “Yeast is also a critical component of our distilling process, and making an extra effort to sustain our yeast is another way we commit to sustainability,” he says. “The choice is pretty simple: you can either buy more yeast whenever you run out, or you can re-use yeast from your previous batch.”
While it does take more work to keep your yeast strain alive, it also has a really positive impact on the environment and on the product, as well. You'll see more consistency by reusing yeast.
Re-Channel Waste Streams
Waste is perhaps one of the biggest issues any Colorado distilleries company or winery faces, but it’s also one of the easiest ways to make sustainable moves. There is a need to always channel waste streams. The on-site fish farm is a great sustainable effort to create a value-added product out of something that would typically incur a cost to dispose of.”
Simply being aware of how much energy is consumed allows for making more sustainable adjustments. “Production-wise, aside from using green energy, we recycle distillation cooling water and have installed water meters to enable us to monitor and reduce consumption further. “One of our long-term goals is to become energy-independent and move to solar power. Although too costly to implement at present, the system has already been designed and is factored into the distilleries expansion plan.”
Reduce Water Waste
On that note, reducing water waste is key in achieving sustainability at any distillery “A sustainable addition to our brand that we are very proud of is our cooling water recycling system. “Colorado distilleries use a tremendous amount of water. It was unbelievable to us how much water could be wasted in the cooling process — in our case, more than 750 gallons with each batch.”
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