Approx 700 words.
Co-op assistant drinks buyer Gemma Day shares her tips for buying drink brands that are doing their bit for the planet – from beer to wine and soft drinks – as well as the do-good brands that are reinventing the drinks industry for the better.
When it comes to making more conscious choices, the products and brands you buy is a good place to start. Plus, with pubs opening up and social get-togethers back in people’s diaries, you’re likely to find yourself spending more of your money on a drink these days (alcoholic or otherwise!).
From looking out for Fairtrade options to investing in brands that are reducing their impact on the planet, there are lots of things to look out for when buying your favourite drinks this summer.
Co-op prides itself on being a leading retailer of Fairtrade goods, and its wine offering is no exception. By choosing to buy Fairtrade products, you’re choosing fairer pay for producers; giving producers control over their futures and doing the right thing by both people and planet, strengthening communities around the world.
To share a tangible example, the Fairtrade funds and Premiums made from Co-op Argentinian Fairtrade wine went towards the building of a new secondary school in Tilimuqui back in 2010. It also helped to secure a steady water supply to the village, and we’re now working with La Riojana, Argentina’s largest wine co-operative, to build a new healthcare centre.
Show your support by looking out for the Fairtrade logo on your next bottle. One of my favourites is Co-op Irresistible Fairtrade Organic Malbec, which is bursting with plum, cherry and blackberry aromas. Or go ahead and explore all Co-op Fairtrade wines for lots more great-tasting options.
There are lots of pioneering drinks brands right now doing great things for the planet. Not-for-profit craft beer company Toast Ale brew their beer using surplus bread to offset the almost 900,000 tonnes of bread wasted in the UK every year, while BrewDog are now carbon-negative, taking twice as much carbon out of the air as they emit. Is a glass of wine your preferred tipple? Why not choose The Hidden Sea Wine, an Australian brand that pledges to remove 1kg of plastic from the ocean with every case of wine sold (the equivalent of removing 10 plastic bottles for every bottle of wine). Their goal is to remove one billion plastic bottles’ worth by 2030. And over on the soft drinks scene, Tenzing are a carbon-neutral company who reinvest 5% of their profits into environmental projects.
Even mainstream brands including Budweiser and Corona Extra are making big ethical changes. Budweiser has committed to brewing with 100% renewable electricity by 2025, while Corona Extra is rolling out more sustainable packaging, made from barley straw, and organises beach clean-ups in partnership with Parley.
All packed up
Remember, it’s what’s on the outside that counts, too! Paying attention to the packaging is just as important as the drinks themselves – after all, every bottle or can has to end up somewhere. That’s why all Co-op own-brand 500ml, 750ml, 1L and 2L waters, mixers and carbonated soft drinks are made out of 100% recyclable packaging, meaning they’re fully recycled and recyclable (saving 1,400 tonnes of plastic!). From Co-op Indian tonic water to Co-op diet ginger ale and so many more, we’re committed to bringing you the drinks you love in a more environmentally friendly way.
Look out for organic
Many food items can be better to buy organic, and that can be true of wine, too. For a wine to be certified organic, farmers must adhere to strict standards, which typically exclude the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. Incorporating these stringent practices is better for the land and surrounding agriculture, but also can ensure better quality. Look out for Terra di Madre Organic Unfiltered wine – my personal favourite – and discover more organic wines here.
For the facts about alcohol, visit drinkaware.co.uk
Assistant drinks buyer