OUR GREEN AND SUSTAINABLE PHILOSOPHY
It is easy to say you have a green philosophy as a corporation. What is hard is living it every day. We could more easily make a list of what we know we are NOT doing to take sufficient care of the planet:
- We ship our rum to many states in the US and even across the sea.
- We use natural gas to fire our open flame stills.
- We bring our sugar cane from Louisiana (after Jan 1, 2014) because it is not grown much closer to us.
But that said, we are doing some cool things to be a little more conscious of our impact on the planet and its people. These efforts do distinguish us from other distillers in the USA and around the world.
- Our distillery and tasting room are 100% wind powered.
- Montanya Distillers is a Certified Green Business, which means our company is values driven, socially equitable, accountable with radical transparency, and environmentally responsible in sourcing, manufacturing, marketing, and daily operations. Customers can feel confident that businesses with this certification operate in ways that support workers, communities, and protect the environment.
- By purchasing our sugar cane directly from Lula (the sugar cane growing and milling Co-op we buy direct from) before refining occurs, we are able to use a raw ingredient for our rum that requires much less energy to produce. The cane retains more of its natural flavors, keeps the complex molecules that we want for our rum, and is not exposed to sulfur dioxide, calcium hydroxide (slaked lime), or phosphoric acid like sugar cane from the refinery. We can also certify that it is American-grown.
- Lula generates all of their electricity and boiler-firing heat from the sugar can itself, called bagasse - 100% Biomass powered. They also return the water their mill uses back to the stream flow cleaner than it was when they brought it in.
- We heat our Distillery and Tasting Room in Crested Butte using recycled heat produced by our stills.
- We do not need to use chillers on our fermentations like most rum distillers. The tap water temperature in our distillery is cool enough to run through copper coils and provide any cooling ever needed.
- We completely avoid plastic in our packaging.
- We use only compostable corn cups for our special events. We use compostable straws and high recycled-content cocktail napkins in our Tasting Rooms and at our events. We support zero-waste events such as Telluride Mountainfilm when we choose what events to support.
- We minimize our printed (aka throw away) materials compared to most liquor companies, and we print on recycled stocks using soy inks from a sustainable printing company. Our labels and case boxes are FSC Certified paper.
- We are committed to adaptive reuse of historic buildings. In our five year history, we have renovated and brought back to life two historic buildings to accommodate our distillery, one in Silverton, CO and one in Crested Butte, CO.
- We use a solar wall for our barrel room. This wall is south facing and gathers heat during sunny days (most days in CB) which warms the barrels and opens the pores of the oak. At night, we don't heat our aging facility because we prefer to fluctuate the temperatures naturally to shring the barrel pores and keep the rum moving kenetically within the barrel. This is a catalyst to the aging process. The more the temperature fluctuates, the faster our rum ages and the more flavorful it becomes.
- We use a synthetic cork with a wood top rather than a plastic top. While some argue that natural cork is more sustainable, we feel that natural corks only come from Portugal, which we believe has a much higher carbon footprint than our synthetic corks from Tapi USA, which are made in the US. These Tapi corks are actually made by dehydrating ethanol (alcohol) made from sugar cane (sort of like making rum!) which is a much more sustainable solution than plastic, which is made from petroleum.
- We sell recycled and organic US cotton logowear (hats, tshirts, sweatshirts, etc) at Montanya. 10% of the price of our Threads for Thought shirts is donated to the International Rescue Committee, which helps refugees who come to the USA gain access to or grow their traditonal cultural foods in their new home. We also source from Econscious and Recover. We also buy logowear from American Apparel because of its commitment to US manufacturing and vertical integration.
- We ship bulk rum to the European Union to be bottled in glass made in France. This allows us to avoid the carbon footprint of shipping empty bottles made in France to Colorado, filling them here and shipping them back.
- We buy carbon offsets for much of our work travel through United Airlines when possible.
- We share our commercial kitchen with other makers of local products whenever possible.
- We provide reusable shopping bags and recycled paper bags for the rum purchases made at our Tasting Room. We never use single-use plastic bags at Montanya and we support the local ban on single use plastic community wide with cash donations and by hosting the events of this coalition.
- Montanya rums will always be made on-shore in the USA. We do not intend to outsource any part of the rum-making process or any jobs overseas, even as we grow. Every step happens in our own facility.
- Our employees are paid higher than average wages, with paid vacation and health benefits for full timers, ski pass subsidies for CBMR, and professional training.
- We participate financially in organizations that support open space preservation, and dedication of wilderness areas in western Colorado.
- We are very philanthropically involved with many non-profit organizations in our communities through in-kind and cash donations. These organizations grow local foods for our school district; provide sexual assault prevention; music/arts/film festivals; education and support for breast cancer victims and survivors; and Crested Butte's world-class nordic system and nordic programs for kids. This is just a short list.
- Our tasting room, patio and bathroom facilities are handicapped-accessible.
- We back up our equal opportunity policy as a company with real hires of qualified minorities and women (a minority in the distilling industry), outpacing the demographics of our community to reflect the diversity of our country.
It's a start. We know we could always be doing more. But for now, it isn't all bad.