Thursday 27 January 2022

Eco Wine, Beer & Spirits

Sea Change Eco Wine
In this post I will be looking at 10 options for eco friendly beers, wine & spirits. It's good to know there are some sellers out there who consider the planet when shaping their business. We as consumers can make our own choices on who to follow. Here's a few suggestions below:

1) Sea Change Wine – A UK company which sells wines produced in Germany, France, Italy & Spain. The team at Sea Change donates to ocean charities whilst reducing plastic in their cork wraps and using 15% grape waste in the labels. 

Their first wine was Pink Elephant which supported an elephant conservation charity to protect Asian elephants. They have some gorgeous labels with seals, dolphins, porpoise, whale, sea lion, otter & turtle.

Your purchase can help support great work, they’ve raised over €100,000 which funds vital research and supported ‘Ocean Generation', who were behind the film ‘A Plastic Ocean.’ 

Other donations have gone to help beach cleaning projects in Cornwall & save sea turtles in the Maldives.

More info at:

2) Hidden Sea – wine sellers in Australia are working with the ReSea project to remove & recycle 1 billion single use plastic bottles from the ocean by 2030. With each bottle sold, 10 plastic bottles are removed from rivers and oceans. 

Wines include red shiraz, rosΓ©, chardonnay & sauvignon blanc and the wine bottles are each decorated with a whale to remind you of their great work.

Hidden Sea wine is sold by various supermarkets in the UK, check out the store finder link below on where to buy:

Eco Wines

3) Cono Sur – a South American vine yard has striven to work organically without pesticides and encourage biodiversity, by planting native wildflowers to entice insects into zones between the vines.

They have also achieved carbon neutral status, recycle water to clean the barrels, use solar power to generate electricity and even use geese to help with pest control! Goose manure & waste from grapes goes to improve the soil.

They won the title of ‘Green Company of the Year’ awarded by the British Drinks Industry Green Awards in 2011.

Check out more on their sustainability goals and achievements at

Available in UK supermarkets (look out for the Bicicleta range with a bicycle on the label!)

4) Identity Wine – a Fair Trade wine producer in South Africa use solar panels to generate electricity and have bee hives on site (the bees encourage pollination of the vines). 

They also have wild peacocks and geese to help with pest control. The company have been helping to support local schools & support their community workers. They have a trebuchet on site which they have used for fundraising projects.

You’ll recognise the bottle by the trebuchet, goose and flying car!
5) Toast Ale – a social enterprise using surplus bread to make beer, which utilises less barley in the process. The surplus grains from production are used as animal feed while spent hops are composted to feed nutrients back into the soil. 

They won a Footprint Covid-19 Contribution Award in 2020, by setting up a Meal Deal to divert waste from restaurants to people going hungry during the pandemic. Profits from their sales are donated to Feedback, a charity set up to reduce food waste & increase sustainability.

To help save the planet they distribute to the UK only and local deliveries in London are transported by pedal power. Look out for their quirky names such as the Bloomin’ Lovely Session IPA and Much Kneaded Craft Lager! 

They also do a limited edition Mango IPA using surplus bread and wonky mangoes and another called Lemongrass Lager using Tea Pig tea bags – so now you know!

Find out more at:

From the Notebook Beers to Support Nature

6) From the Notebook – a wonderful selection of craft beers with beautifully designed labels depicting Sand Martens, Robin, Stork, Gibbon, Hedgehog & Pangolin to name a few! 

Parts of proceeds are donated to British nature charities including Marine Conservation Society & People’s Trust for Endangered Species.

Learn more at:

7) Brew Dog - a Scottish seller of beer, spirits & cider have been reducing their carbon emissions in 2020 by switching to renewable energy, using electric vehicles and cutting air travel. 

Some new exciting projects include planting trees and restoring peatland in a newly acquired 9000 acre forest and an anaerobic digester bio-plant is set to be operational in 2022, which will turn waste brewery water into pure H2O and biomethane.

Lost Carbon Negative Lager
Brew dog is not just carbon neutral but is carbon negative due to the tree planting initiatives. To help reduce waste they also produce fruit beers using fruit that would go to waste & make dog biscuits using waste spelt from the beer production (non alcoholic of course!) 

The product ‘Lost Lager’ even uses less water & utilises bread that would go to waste – with every pack they plant one tree.

Check out the sustainability reports here at:

8) Adnams in Southwold – producers of beer, spirit & wine, Adnams have switched to 100% renewable energy in 2017. 

The company have reduced water waste by using steam from one batch, which is recycled as heat for the next batch. Spent grain is then used as cattle feed, with any remaining waste going to an anaerobic digestor which is turned into energy.

The team also organise beach cleans annually in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society. Wildflowers are encouraged to grow at their distribution centre which also has a green roof, with the on site bee keeper making honey, used by the local hotel.

9) Orkney Distilleries – Highland Park (Whisky) and Orkney Distilling (Gin) - these two distilleries based in the Orkney Islands have received government funding as part of the HySpirits project to explore the use of hydrogen as a green fuel source. Edinburgh’s Napier University are also playing a key role.

The UK government are encouraging green businesses across the UK with £5bn in funding, some of which will go towards greener distilleries. Orkney Distilleries above were successful in phase 1 funding, Bruichladdich below was successful in phase 2.

10) Bruichladdich Whisky – a Distillery based in Islay (Scottish Isles) are embracing the green revolution. They have installed a circulatory heat system to send hot water from the stills to heat their offices & visitor centre. 

In 2017/18 they helped plant 7,500 trees in partnership with the Woodland Trust. Wildflower conservation is also encouraged on the land to promote biodiversity, including planting sunflower strips.

In 2019 the distillery replaced their petrol vehicles with electronic vehicles as staff cars. From 2020 they transitioned to 100% renewable energy and are currently looking at hydrogen as an option (see government funding on phase 2 link above).

Your carbon footprint

Vineyard by Pixabay from Pexels

These are just a snapshot of what's available in the UK.

But how does wine for example, affect your carbon footprint? During the filming of BBC 2’s program ‘Feast to Save the Planet’ the guests at a dinner table had to guess the impact of their chosen meal. 

Many were surprised to find that wine driven from Europe to the UK was actually more of a problem than wine shipped from as far away as Australia. It was explained that alcohol from overseas can be shipped in very large vats and are then bottled once they reach the UK. 

So if you see a wine originating from overseas with the words ‘bottled in the UK’ then it may not be quite as bad as you think, although will still have some impact on the environment.

An article in live science explains that out of various transportation methods, air cargo is the worst method, delivery by truck/lorry 2nd and shipping cargo had the lowest impact of all.

The article writer explains that a client on the East coast of the States may create less carbon emissions with wine shipped from Bordeux by container, rather than receiving wine by the truck from the West Coast of America!

Some wine makers are working to reduce weight of their bottles & minimising packages to help with transport costs once it reaches the truck for onward destination. Of course, if you consume a product that has been made & distributed more local to you then that’s a win for you AND the planet. 

There is no Planet BThankfully, glass is one of the most widely recycled material but can be heavy to transport. British Glass says that ‘a green wine bottle in the UK will contain, on average, 68% recycled material.’ 

Any unrecyclable glass (where it has downgraded too much to be melted into bottles) can be used as aggregate in building materials.

So what’s the eco footprint of beer I hear you roar. According to ethical consumer report they say at the higher end, the carbon footprint from a pint can be equivalent to a generous bath heated by energy efficient gas boilers, whilst at the lower end, the same as an 800g loaf of locally baked bread!

Stats including pie chart about half way down the page on this link. The article explains other factors to consider including genetic modification of crops, transportation methods, water used, packaging and so on.

For those wanting to cut emissions you could even try some home brews. Toast Ale for example has a home brew club so you can follow the recipe and give it a try, making ale using surplus bread! 

Mike Berners-Lee, eco consultant who wrote the book ‘There is no Planet B’ is an expert on carbon emissions. He works with many companies around the world and authored several books on the impact of human kind on the planet. (See a review of his book in the link above).

A few more links for you

🍷 If your taste buds have been wetted then why not check out this list of 15 eco drinks & where to buy them, including a rum made from banana skins & a beer using Cornflakes, Rice Pops & Coco Pops!!

🍷 Check out this grading system for eco booze created by the Ethical Consumer Organisation. Toast (the beer product mentioned above) came high up in the list.

🍷 If you've got the nibbles. why not check out this handy guide on which foods have lower carbon footprint (think seasonal & local).

🍷 Finally, drink your way through the sustainable wines of Great Britain. Hick!