The need to think and act more proactively about the environmental impact of our actions as an industry has never been more important.
As an industry we need to think more about many of the materials we use as the production of plastic creates greenhouse gas emissions and in addition plastics release toxic chemicals as it degrades, polluting our land and our seas.
This need to think more clearly about our actions and our practices is bringing about a shift in consumer actions as well. Consumers now look for products which are more sustainable, more environmentally friendly and more ethically produced and packaged.
There are some aspects of the industry where it is easy to recognise and ultimately change what we do waste-wise: glass bottles, straws, fruit, plastics. These things can be seen and checked in venue and brought under control.
But what about the things that are ultimately out of your control? Packaging, transport and the carbon emissions associated with the creation and movement of spirits all over the world are astronomical. But is there anything you can do about it?
The simple answer is yes.
The reason for the answer is ecoSPIRITS.
CLOSED LOOP DISTRIBUTION
ecoSPIRITS aims to develop a sustainable future in the spirits industry by ending single-use glass.
With the majority of the product cost and carbon footprint of spirits bound up in the packaging and transport, this mission also provides a substantial business cost advantage.
ecoSPIRITS have created a closed-loop distribution system using ecoTOTES – a fully-reusable, refillable, tamper-proof and shock-proof 4.5L glass vessel to replace the standard 6-bottle case of spirits.
ecoSPIRITS says that 2020, will see the world produce 40 billion single-use glass spirit bottles, generating 22 million tons of carbon emissions.
Huw Griffiths, Owner of Union Electric bar in Melbourne explains what using ecoSPIRITS is about to him.
“This is something that we are doing, not for the recognition, but because we wanted to do this in the first place.
“ecoSPIRITS is just awesome. It gave us the opportunity to save some money, provide a better product and also do something that felt like we were doing the right thing by the environment as well as the community, which is great.
“We all know you’ve always been able to buy bulk spirits and refill bottles on your bar, but I always felt they were a bit cheap and nasty. ecoSPIRITS has been done really well in the sense that there is very little opportunity for it to not maintain its credibility.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Tio’s Group Operations Manager Alex (Happy) Gilmour: “It’s a really good product in really good packaging and Arquitecto Tequila is a really good product from a producer that I really respect. ecoSPIRITS think laterally really well and think outside the box and they have thought about the product and they have thought about the design and really they are a bit ahead of their time.
“When you’ve got a great product that you can easily move in high volumes, with less waste and reset easily at your bar, it just makes sense.”
In terms of why other bars should be looking to use ecoSPIRITS, Huw adds: “The first reasons are practically and economically.
“We don’t need a quarter of the space that we use to. Once those bottles are in the shelf they are ready to go and the ecoTOTES stack beautifully.
“They are cheaper than what we would normally pay for that quality of spirit, so there is a saving there, and beyond all the sustainability they have introduced they are also planting a tree every time someone purchases an ecoTOTE, which is awesome.”
Explaining the benefits further Huw added: “I have a guy working with me who is a semi-professional rowing coach and he is this unit who somehow manages to carry four full bottle bins to the bottle bin area. Pre-COVID he’d cut the number of trips he was making on a busy night by five or six.
“When you consider that we now get the majority of our rail spirits delivered in ecoTOTES, we’re cutting 30-40 units of spirit at a time, per busy shift, that’s a couple of bottle bins at a time right there.”
That simple concept of waste management, but more than that, waste generation is something that Happy has noticed by using ecoSPIRITS at the tiny (and magnificent) bar that is Cantina OK.
“For a venue that doesn’t even have an ice machine and has one bin that was getting collected every night because of cans, bottles and everything else; even now that we have limits in place we are getting one pick up per week because the glass bottles aren’t as much.”
LOTS OF LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
The simple fact is everyone knows they should be doing what they can to help the environment, no matter how small. Running a business in the current COVID-climate we are experiencing arguably gives you a reason not to put sustainability and environmental concerns as a priority.
Using ecoSPIRITS solves than conundrum, it means you can do your bit for the environment, while still keeping costs at a minimum for your business and not impacting on the quality of the spirits and cocktails you are serving.
As Happy says: “If everyone does a little bit, that is going to make a big difference and these are still great spirits for you to serve in your venue.
“People are not going to walk in and say ‘I want a sustainable cocktail please’ but we all know we talk to people about what they do want.
“Our biggest tool is how we talk to people, we’ve got someone for 35 seconds after they have read the menu and had a chat, and we have the opportunity to use our power of language to talk about what our refills are, and this is what we do. And the spoken word is more powerful than the written word for us.”
Let’s face it, 2020 can do one, priorities have changed and survival is key now, but we can do better than that. We can remember the things that are important to us and everyone around us.
This year saw some of the most brutal bushfires many of us would have ever seen and it put the climate and the environment front, centre and number one priority, COVID has skewed everything, and realistically none of us can play a part in a COVID-cure.
But the environment remains a concern and every single one of us can do something to help. The fact is a simple shift to things like ecoSPIRITS will make a difference and every little difference will effect big change.
To find out more about how you can reduce costs, reduce waste, save space and help the environment, all while serving high quality spirits, contact Proof and Company to find out more about ecoSPIRITS.