I’m happy to have the opportunity to learn from and share with all of you – and I’m honored to be the first guy blogger on The Green Girls.tv! One of the great things about blogging is that you get to write about whatever excites you. Most of my passions are simple, including the one I’m writing about today: beverages.
Yep, whether it’s a cold beer at the end of a long day, refreshing gulp of water, or wine paired with an exquisite (or not) meal – there’s nothing quite like a nice beverage.
So what makes a beverage green? Organic options are becoming more common. These are easier on the environment because they don’t use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. But what about distribution; are there greener options to shipping your favorite beverage?
Enter Fair Wind Wine. These winemakers from the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France have chosen to chip their wines the old fashioned way – by sail. Sure, it takes a week or so longer to reach the UK, but doesn’t wine improve with age, anyway? Not to mention the renaissance-era romanticism that comes from knowing your fine French wine arrived by the grace of the wind gods.
Arrival in Dublin, Ireland.
A tasting room with a view that can't be beat.
It’s a sailor’s life for me.
Beer drinks need not worry – there are environmentally conscious choices in that isle, too! A growing number of breweries are opting for a more sustainable method of production – renewable energy. Anderson Valley Brewery (makers of the oh-so-delicious Boont Amber Ale and Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout) installed 768 solar panels on their roof which cut their energy bill in half. Sierra Nevada, another Californian favorite, also has a solar system and is a leader in water conservation and energy efficiency – even going so far as to use brewery waste to generate methane! But all the green action isn’t confined to California. Oregon’s Lucky Labrador Brewing Company uses the sun’s heat to warm their hot water tanks, and two-year-old Twin Lakes Brewery in Delaware is starting sustainably with photovoltaic panels that provide almost a third of their power.
Packaging is another important avenue for reducing impact. Despite the stigma of boxed wine in the U.S. (thank you, Franzia), these easy to carry cardboard packages are making a comeback. One of my personal favorites, Green Path, can be found at Whole Foods. One added bonus: boxes are 1L instead of the standard 750 ml in a bottle – so you get an extra 33% of wine as a reward for thinking green.
As for non-alcoholic beverages, it’s best to steer clear of carbonated soft drinks. This is for several reasons: carbonated beverages need thicker containers, and to produce them it takes lots of chemicals, dyes, water, and – you guessed it – lots of high fructose corn syrup. Not only is this not a good choice for your body, but corn farming uses fertilizers, pesticides, and again – lots of water. In fact, so many fertilizers are used that the runoff has created an 8,000 square mile ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico where nothing can survive. Water and milk are better options, a recent WSJ article found that about 7.2 lbs of carbon are emitted for a half gallon of cow juice. Better yet, blend your own fruit juice at home using the bounty from your last trip to the farmer’s market.
Whatever beverage you choose, next time you relax and enjoy it, take a moment to imagine everything that’s happened behind the scenes to get it to your fridge – a sustainable beverage provides refreshment and food for thought!
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