Drinking responsibly not only means knowing when to stop. It also means supporting spirit brands that aim to be more sustainable. So if you´re a tequila lover who is aware of climate change and plans on celebrating National Margarita Day on Saturday February 22nd, you´ll be happy to know the tequila industry is investing in eco-friendly production.
Tequila has gone from a purportedly low-class spirit to a luxury one in recent years. This year it was labeled “the spirit of choice in Hollywood” by Variety, noting that guests at the Oscars Governor’s Ball depended on sponsor Don Julio tequila to liven up the festivities. This Mexican spirit is produced under strict government regulation; its top notch 100% Weber blue agave plants, which can take five to 12 years to mature and predominantly from the Jalisco region, are what tequila connoisseurs seek out.
Movers and shakers in the distilling world know that international customers are aware of how important it is to care for our Earth. That’s why so many have initiated plans to keep their businesses sustainable and eco-friendly. Being sustainable not only means regulating its production, but reestablishing how the waste it generates is handled. For instance, one of tequila´s biggest byproducts is spent agave fiber. Usually the mountains of fiber that are produced are treated and turned into fertilizer for local farmers. But as the tequila industry expands the amount of byproduct produced grows and well known tequila distillers, like Jose Cuervo, are trying to find new ways to use the material so that it can reduce plastic usage.
Since 2016, the Tequila industry’s regulatory organization, the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), has maintained a sustainability initiative. This is great news since tequila´s popularity only continues to grow more and more each year and with it, more square inches of dirt being planted with agave.The Daily Beast reported that the CRT has aimed to reduce its carbon footprint and is projecting that emissions will be down 10 percent next year from usage levels in 2014. And will be down another 15 percent by 2030. They’re also hoping to decrease the use of fossil fuels and electricity.
Sustainable Tequila Distilleries to Love
Both Jose Cuervo and Herradura have already built sustainable systems that are paving the way for other tequila brands to follow in their footsteps. They´ve installed systems that turn the vinasses (the remnants after distillation) into biogas (methane), a fuel source used to power their boilers and stills. This allows for the distillery to produce a percentage of its power from what was formerly waste.
The boutique tequila distillery Casa Noble produces its tequila in small quantities on its estate. Although their production is slower than some of its rivals, they are able to reuse wastewater. Casa Noble was the first tequila distillery to be certified organic by CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers). Jose “Pepe” Hermosillo, founder of Casa Noble told Ask Men: “We built our own water treatment facility on the Casa Noble estate, which allows wastewater to be treated and made safe for composting. This commitment to not introducing or even be in contact with any synthetics during the long life of the agave or the tequila-making process has set an industry and consumer standard.”
This year, as you click glasses in a toast, say salud to the health of our planet while enjoying a margarita, which still remains the No. 1 cocktail in the United States.