The GreatDrams View on Sustainability

We get asked a lot about our stance on sustainability, and notice pretty much every brand in whisky (and the wider world for that matter) now has a policy on sustainability from Bruichladdich offering to not ship the tube with bottles bought on their website to Electric Spirit building in recycling and not having any single use substrates within their packaging at all, and many, many more.

At an event not too long ago one of our customers gave us a bit of grief when we put their order into a black plastic bag due to the weather – not realising that we have a policy of ‘doing what we can’ and ‘making positive choices’ in all we do… the black plastic bags are already recycled, but he did not seem to care so we swapped it for one of our paper bags… twenty minutes later he came back asking for a plastic bag as it was raining and the paper one was not faring well. Wonder if he would have done the same if we had not already pointed out it was recycled already?

Away from bags, we have always consciously tried to reduce our environmental impacts through all we do; however small the impact, it is our duty do what we can.
To that end we have implemented the following:

  • We have never done boxes / tubes (what we call secondary packaging in the industry) – saves costs too as you are not shipping items that make a bottle bulkier, adding weight and increasing the carbon footprint for something that is nine times out of ten thrown away soon after purchase / the bottle being opened, so win-win
  • Our stoppers are made from cork, natural cork stoppers use 8g of CO2 per unit, rising to 21g of CO2 per unit for micro agglomerated corks, whereas screw caps come out last in a recent study, with an estimated 52g of CO2 per unit assuming a 35% recycle rate whereas cork stoppers are widely recycled across the industry
  • We reuse boxes that we receive deliveries in – curiously this also brings complaints from time to time as it would appear some folk prefer to receive whisky in a fresh box, even if they then recycle it not long after… tho some folks are impressed that one box recently delivered us a lockdown at home restaurant meal, the same box then took labels for our next four releases to our bottling line, the extras were then sent back in the same box and the box was finally filled with 14 bottles of limited edition single cask single malt whisky to be sent to one of our best customers… who loved how many miles the box had done instead of being thrown away / wasted… we literally have a wall of boxes in our office of boxes of all sizes that we have received all sorts of things in just waiting for the right order to come in and give them a second life instead of being discarded… and the boxes that hold our whisky when moved from bottling line to our office and onto the warehouse are now kept too and shipped back to the bottling line to be used again for the next release so we don’t need to add more cardboard to our footprint (does not save much £ tho as we still need to ship it, but has a positive environmental impact)
  • At events we encourage people to try two whiskies using the same sample cup as we don’t like the idea of single use plastic
  • Even the pallets we use are recycled and reused into other things such as raising the floor level of our warehouse to help with airflow around the bottles / cases of whisky, we also put out calls on Facebook for people who want any of them to come and collect them free of charge – pallets we have bought for transporting whisky have been used by others to build garden bars, tables, used as firewood and all sorts

There are a few things we are working on at present to make us even more sustainable including the sourcing of paper tape (should be with us within two days of writing this), bubblewrap we use for safety but we also use crunched paper padding too but want to rebalance this to be more paper than bubble wrap (tho a lot of our babble wrap is recycled).

Typically we don’t talk about our sustainability policies / approach as we believe it should be a private thing that is done for the right reasons, not for PR but figured we should have it documented somewhere in case someone asks… or gets upset about a box having been used a couple of times. 

Tags: BruichladdichElectric SpiritGreatDramsGreatDrams Company Blogsustainabilitywhisky sustainability
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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