Industry News

2017 Sustainable Spirit Award Recipients

ryan cheti, iain griffiths, jessica lischka, and the other jimmy's rep on the front steps of the hotel monteleone
The representatives from White Lyan and Jimmy's, two of the 2016 recipients of the Sustainable Spirit Award. (Photo: Jennifer Mitchell Photography)

Following last year’s successful debut of the Sustainable Spirit Awards, Tales of the Cocktail® is proud to announce the 2017 award recipients. Each winner has not only made notable efforts to implement green practices in their establishments, they’ve provided others with the resources to follow their lead, spreading the message of sustainability across the industry. The winners of the second annual Sustainable Spirit Awards are: The Good Lion in Santa Barbara, Lucas Groglio of LO HACEMOS BIEN, Bombay Sapphire, Tequila Ocho, and Real Minero. Representatives from each of the winning establishments will receive their award at the 2017 Toast to Tales, which will take place on Tuesday, July 18th at 2pm on the steps of the Hotel Monteleone.

“The past year has seen a boom in discourse, education, and activism around the sustainability of the bar world. Be it through controlling waste and mitigating the footprint of a bar, or by preserving the heritage and future of one’s craft through sound agriculture, this year’s Sustainable Spirit honorees put discourse into practice. Through their efforts they make progress on the behalf of our community at large. This year’s class is an inspiration that we all can follow in pursuit of a more sustainable industry.” Chad Arnholt, co-founder of Tin Roof Drink Community and recipient of a 2016 Sustainable Spirit Award.

There is no set criteria that winners needed to fulfill to receive this award; sustainability can be achieved in a variety of ways, and no “one” method qualifies above another. Whether an establishment has the money to replace all of their ice machines with water-saving models, or whether an establishment makes a commitment to only use local products, any effort towards sustainability contributes to the greater goal of using resources in a more conscientious manner. As long as the nominees showed a genuine commitment to sustainable practices, and translated their efforts into potential models for other establishments to follow, they were considered eligible to receive a Sustainable Spirit Award.

“Sustainability is more of a philosophy than a defined set of practices. Despite the different ways in which they bring sustainability to their businesses, all of these recipients have shown a dedication to reducing their impact on their planet,” said Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail®. “But we’re not just celebrating sustainability. It’s been a core principle of Tales of the Cocktail since the beginning. Whether it’s recycling, composting or reducing our reliance on paper materials, we also want to serve as an example for the industry.”

The Good Lion holds the honor of being the first craft cocktail bar on California’s Central Coast to be named a certified Green Business by the California Green Business Program. Apart from their dedication to maintaining a rotating cocktail menu using only local, seasonal produce, the Good Lion also recycles used spirit bottles, and exclusively uses compostable utensils and supplies.

Lucas Groglio has dedicated the last years of his career to work towards sustainability in the cocktail and spirits industry. With his program “Coctelería Consciente,” the first sustainable bar catering service for events, he reduced the impact his company (LO HACEMOS BIEN) was having on the environment with a composting and recycling program, careful sourcing and reducing their carbon footprint, to name some of their sustainable efforts. He is also raising awareness in the South American cocktail and spirits industry and Spanish-speaking audiences through the use of sustainable talks, consulting programs, and LO HACEMOS BIEN’s blog and social networks, an effort that spreads sustainability in the industry to a global stage.

As one of the more recognizable gin brands around the world, Bombay Sapphire’s sustainable distillery initiative sets a valuable precedent for others brands to follow. Their Laverstoke Mill distillery, where Bombay Sapphire, Bombay Dry, and Star of Bombay gins are made, engages in multiple green practices, such cutting down on its carbon emissions by 38%, recycling multiple forms of biomass, and harvesting rainwater. Moreover, the Laverstoke Mill distillery is located in a “Conservation Area and Site of Special Scientific Interest,” and Bombay Sapphire has taken explicit measures to preserve and enhance the faunal population of the area. For their efforts, Bombay Sapphire was awarded the esteemed BREEM Award for Industrial Design in 2014.

Tequila Ocho addresses a very real problem within the tequila industry: the dwindling agave supply. With the increased global popularity of the spirit, many tequila companies are feeling pressured to create massive quantities of the spirit without necessarily changing their practices, a phenomenon that is gravely depleting both the quality and quantity of their agave. Furthermore, the tequila distilling process is traditionally wasteful, making its larger scale of production harmful to the environment. Carlos Camarena addresses this by reusing the residual organic material left over from the distillation process as an organic fertilizer, and by recycling the distillery’s water. He aims to completely eliminate both the agave “leftovers” and the emissions from the boilers and stills to create a pollution-free distillery. In addition, Tequila’s Ocho’s Bat project is working to re-introduce Mexico’s bat population; since bats play a large role in pollinating the agave plants, this initiative helps to ameliorate the issue of monoculture in the agave industry.

Mezcal faces the same issues with agave supply and waste as tequila, and Real Minero addresses them with a focus on preserving the plant supply. Not only to they stick to small-batch products to use as little of the crop as they can, they plant agave each year to ensure a crop will remain for future generations. In 2016 alone, Real Minero planted over six-thousand agaves during the rainy season. What’s more, their agave nurseries rely on the natural reproduction of agave instead of cloning the plant, which helps preserve the genetic diversity of the species. This year, there are currently 14,650 agave of mixed variety that have begun being planted with this year's rains.

Tales of the Cocktail®’s focus on sustainability doesn’t stop at the Sustainable Spirit Awards: on Tuesday, July 18th, Tales will be hosting the first-ever Sustainability Summit, a day-long event hosted by last year’s Sustainable Spirit Award recipients, Claire Sprouse and Chad Arnholt of Tin Roof Drink Community. The Summit will focus on ways to implement accessible sustainability practices in drinking establishments. To purchase tickets for the Sustainability Summit, please click here. To view past Sustainable Spirit Award winners, click here.

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