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26th August 2022

Where we explore our journey to becoming a zero carbon business.

What Is Drink Sustainability?

Hello and welcome back to part 7 of the impact blog series! If you haven’t already, check out the previous volume to explore our restaurant social responsibility efforts.  If you’re based in London (or anywhere in the UK for that matter) you’ll know that IT. HAS. BEEN. HOT. We’ve seen some of the highest temperatures on record this past month, and before you make any assumptions – no we’re not going to lecture you on climate change or the warming of our planet. In fact, we want to shed some light on something a little more light-hearted; sustainable drinks, or ‘Sustainable Serves’ as we named them at Gaucho and M… 

How do you make sustainable beverages?

There are various approaches to making a drink (more) sustainable, whether it’s focusing on the supply chain, ingredients, manufacturing, packaging, logistics or disposal. At Gaucho, we started our ‘sustainable serves’ initiative by firstly looking at our brands and wineries, to better understand their current accreditations and practices. This allowed us to be more selective with our partners and we are proud to say we now stock the entire sustainable drinks portfolio from our suppliers Glass Half Full

To give more exposure to these products we’ve highlighted our biodynamic*, organic*, natural, or ‘sustainable’ partners on our drinks and wine menus. Looking to the future, we will widen the scope of such initiatives, especially when it comes to cocktails and ingredients, looking at what we can do to avoid importing items. 

How to drink sustainably?

Choosing beverages from eco-friendly drinks brands may seem obvious, but how many of us do it? With the green movement gaining more and more notoriety around the world, it’s no longer viable for businesses to hide from consumer opinion or demand. Look out for drinks companies that build sustainability into their brand, actively addressing their core issues. Sustainable drinking glasses and straws are also available which provides another simple way to add sustainability into your beverages.

What is a zero-waste cocktail?

Zero-waste cocktails create zero waste (durrrrr)…

Designing a eco-freindly cocktail around zero-waste principles, in essence, means looking at all the ingredients to ensure nothing ends up in the bin. Garnishes, for example, should be entirely edible. You can also make use of ingredients that you have spare from making your sustainable cocktails by creating a fruit salad with any leftover fruit or by adding leftover herb & spices to your delicious dinner. 

What does certified sustainable mean?

*There are two main certified credentials that drink producers and wineries can achieve to show their commitment to sustainability; ‘Organic’ and ‘Biodynamic’. Both credentials show sustainable commitment, putting environmental principles at the heart of farming and cultivation. Both must meet strict requirements. 

  • Avoidance of any synthetic/chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fertilisers 
  • Promotion of good healthy soils through land management, encouraging biodiversity
  • Protecting soils from erosion, planting additional crops and hedgerows that prevent it from drying out in the sun

Biodynamic goes above and beyond the organic requirements. In fact, it’s defined as ‘a spiritual-ethical-ecological’ approach to agriculture, gardens, food production, and nutrition. This means a winery vineyard, for example, is seen as a part of nature and not an isolated piece of land engineered purely to grow grapes. Put simply, the biodynamic certification shows that businesses place sustainability above commercial objectives.

How do you know if wine is sustainable?

Sustainable, eco-friendly wines are wines that are produced in sustainable vineyards that practice water and energy conservation, preserve ecosystems and local wildlife. To know if wine is sustainable you can check the label for organic or biodynamic logos – if it has been certified there will be some evidence of this on the bottle. Sustainable wine producers will want you to know about their operations, directing customers via QR codes or web links to accreditations or website information.

What is the most sustainable beverage packaging?

Drinks packaging is a challenge – it’s a functional necessity for containing and transporting drinks but different packaging affects the quality of the drink inside. 

Glass is a material that can very easily be recycled however, the heavy weight of transporting the glass creates higher transport emissions and costs – the heavier the item, the more fuel it requires to move. This makes it key to use eco-friendly wine bottle packaging in order to improve the sustainability of wine across the industry.

Aluminium cans are lightweight, sturdy, and easy to recycle however, generally lots of producers prefer not to use this material due to its perceived lower quality. 

Plastic bottles are in most cases easy to recycle however, the complexity of making them out of different types of plastic means that not all plastic bottles are recyclable as standard. 

Why is sustainability so important in food and beverage?

Sustainable food and drink  is all about being resourceful in the supply and production practices . With a rapidly growing world population, shrinking land space and poorer quality soil, it’s imperative that all industries introduce sustainable practices, particularly in the food and beverage industry. 

Farming is directly impacted by climate change; increasing natural disasters such as droughts, floods, and extreme temperature variations affect the quantity and quality of food production. These issues are exacerbated by poor land management, largely due to increasing global demand. Nutrients in the soil are being drained and the fertility of the land is decreasing so much that it cannot be used to grow food again.

The solution is to reassess farming and land management practices to improve the sustainability of the food and beverage industry. Certifications such as organic, is the first step to better practices alongside technological developments and regenerative farming. 

While we are proud of our impact and sustainability efforts so far, with our drinks offering and otherwise, we know that there’s still so much more we can do. Looking ahead we will kick start a new project with our wine suppliers to assess the sustainability practices at all the wineries whose products we stock, which ultimately, will increase the number of sustainable drinks we offer our guests.

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