These Drinks Might Not Save Your Liver, But They're Trying to Save the Planet

Craig Donofrio

When your resolution to stop drinking ends by happenstance two weeks after New Year’s, and you just say “Screw it” at the next grocery store trip and reach for a bottle—we understand. Some resolutions can be tough, so how about something easier this year? We suggest that, if you’re going to drink, look for certain types of alcohol and booze brands that aren’t roughing up the environment. Here’s a look at the main ingredients in your favorite spirits and some recommendations for sustainable, eco-friendly distilleries.


Vodkas can be made up of a huge variety of different crops. Winter wheat is a popular one, with both Absolut and Kettle One using the crop (Kettle One says it uses GMO-free wheat). Potatoes are also popular—like Luksusowa—as is corn—like Tito’s—which paid a $50,000 fine in 2010 for dumping production waste into a creek.

With so many different base ingredients for vodka, it’s best to look at how a company obtains its crop. Is it from a local farm, or is it imported from massive fields with tons of fertilizer? Are the ingredients fair trade? A company that employs sustainable practices will most likely put it somewhere on their website, and if it’s organic they’ll have the USDA organic seal of approval. While we can’t review every vodka in the world, we can recommend a few:

  • Fair: Fair, a brand from the Paris-based company Ethical Wine and Spirits, offers a wide range of fair-trade certified spirits from rum to liqueurs. Their vodka is made from quinoa (it’s a super-booze!) produced by 1,200 independent Bolivian farmers living in the Andes and is distilled in France.

For the remainder of the article These Drinks Might Not Save Your Liver, But They're Trying to Save the Planet, which includes a bit about how Montanya protects its workers, click here.

Karen HoskinWinter 2019