Beer, Wine, and Liquor

Published on March 16th, 2011 | by Rachel Shulman


Green Liquor for Saint Patrick’s Day

Because tomorrow is a day devoted to all things green and alcoholic, I thought now would be the perfect time to talk about green liquor.

By green liquor, I don’t mean green-colored cocktails. I’m talking about eco-friendly liquor – and yes, it does exist!

After all, we talk a lot about sustainable wine on this blog, but we’ve spoken very little about the environmental consequences of producing liquor. And given that 19 billion dollars are spent on liquor in the US per year, it would be nice if more of that revenue went towards sustainable companies.

Avital Binstock, Green Lifestyle Editor for Sierra Magazine, talked about eco-friendly liquors on Sierra Club Radio last week. Here are some of her favorites!

  • Death’s Door White Whisky – Made in Madison, WI from organic wheat sourced from local farmers. The distillery reuses hot water from the still to heat the mash, and then sells the spent mash as a feed source for local dairy cows. The founder of the company is also a founding member of the environmental nonprofit 1% for the Great Lakes.
  • Square One Organic Vodka – Made from organically grown rye instead of the usual pesticide-laden corn or potatoes. The company uses a certified organic fermentation process and never resorts to chemicals to flavor its vodka.
  • Del Maguey Tequila – An organic mezcal made in remote villages in Oaxala, Mexico, by a co-op of distiller-farmers.
  • Juniper Green Organic Gin – An organic gin distilled in London. (I have a bottle of this in my freezer – it’s fantastic.)
  • Flor de Cana Rum – Made in Nicaragua. The distillery recycles and reuses 100 percent of its byproducts. Spend yeast from the production process is converted into fertilizer, animal feed, and ethanol that powers the distillery. The sugar mill that makes the main ingredient – molasses – generates up to 30 percent of Nicaragua’s electricity.

Sure, liquor is never going to be the next health drink. But at least when you choose a green liquor, you’re ingesting fewer toxins or supporting a business that’s environmentally responsible.  So drink up!

Image courtesy of Sean94112 via a Creative Commons license.

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About the Author

I'm an ecologist turned journalist turned farmer-in-training. I'm currently working on an organic farm and creamery in Illinois. Follow me on twitter (, friend me on Facebook (!/profile.php?id=3105709), or follow me on StumbleUpon (

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