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High Spirits Spotlight: Sustainability

The Whisky Exchange raises a glass to the people and brands that are helping to make our planet greener

As the people of the world are becoming more mindful about the drinks they choose, we have decided to dedicate this month’s High Spirits Spotlight to some of our favourite brands doing their bit for our precious planet. And as luck would have it, they just so happen to be making some great tasting drinks while they’re at it. Cheers! TWE


Foxhole Spirits’ – HYKE Gin 

Both of the gins created by Foxhole Spirits are sustainably conscious, demonstrating that luxury can be made from surplus on a larger scale. Foxhole Gin is made from the by-products of the English grape harvest and HYKE Gin is made using offcuts from bunches of table grapes. It is flavoured with a blend of botanicals inspired by the grapes’ African and South American origins, including coriander, myrrh and rooibos. 

These guys don’t just distil from industrially produced spirit, they craft unique products that reflect the true characteristics of these incredible raw materials.

Ncn’ean Botanical Spirit 

This botanical spirit drink from fledgling Scottish distiller Ncn’ean is somewhere between a whisky and a gin. It’s a combination of the distillery’s barley spirit (unaged whisky) and ten botanicals and locally foraged herbs including bog myrtle, heather, sorrel and thyme. 

The distillery is a farm which runs entirely on renewable energy – the team use the wood chips from surrounding forests to feed the biomass boiler, any leftover grain is recycled to feed the cows, and all the waste products are used on the fields as fertiliser.

Mix 50ml Ncn’ean Botanical Spirit, tonic water and a dash of Angostura bitters with ice, and garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

Patrón Silver Tequila 

Despite its status as one of the world’s most famous tequila brands, Patrón has an impressive dedication to being sustainable, not just for the environment but also for the local community and its employees. Patron employ over 1,000 people locally to work in the distillery at Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco. The company offers employees free transport to and from work with flexible working hours, and helps them to advance their studies by working with local universities. A natural gas pipeline is the distillery’s main energy source, reducing CO2 emissions, and a reverse osmosis water treatment system recovers up to 70 percent of the usable water for cleaning, watering the gardens and running the cooling towers. Patrón also reuse leftover agave fibres to create fertilizer and compost, and replant trees when the distillery needs to create more space. 

Ticking a lot of boxes while producing a wonderful spirit that’s full of flavour, Patrón is certainly a brand not to be forgotten when you’re ordering a margarita. 

Sustainability Champions

Barney Wilczak
Capreolus Distillery 

Barney at Capreolus Distillery in the Cotswolds is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to doing things properly. For him, being sustainable means relying on renewably-sourced electricity to power the whole distillery (and recycling water used in the process), using biodegradable cleaners for the stills, sourcing sustainably-harvested corks (which in turn supports one of the most bio diverse areas in western Europe), ensuring a carbon neutral production of paper labels, and gathering 85% of the fruit for his eaux-de-vie from within 55 miles of the distillery. That’s most of the green boxes well and truly ticked!

© Simon Hanna

Matt Whiley
Founder of Scout bar, London & Sydney

Matt Whiley championed the greener movement when he opened Scout in 2017, focusing on sustainable cocktails and zero waste. The current cocktail list at the London bar, named ‘Ecö Systems’, focuses on three sections with four to five drinks in each: Metropolis City, Oceans & Streams and Woodlands & Forest. Locally foraged ingredients from coastal regions, inland streams and London’s green spaces, and a food menu featuring sustainably sourced ingredients, mean Scout is leading the way in creating truly sustainable bars.