Planet and People-Healthy Spirits
The organic label doesn’t just apply to the food we eat. It also can define the spirits we imbibe. As people change their drinking habits and bartenders seek to expand their craft/artisan approach to cocktails, the demand for organics grows. Why switch to or seek out organic? Some people want to reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals and additives, while others take an environmental stance by going organic. But, outside of the political angle, many folks, experts included, simply think that organic tastes better.
How exactly does the term “organic” apply to spirits production? Organic spirits are those produced from organic grains and fruits that normally would be conventionally grown and, generally treated with pesticides and herbicides that end up in our soil and water. Organic spirits avoid exposure to chemicals. With so many of these products produced in the U.S., they also offer a lighter carbon footprint than imported spirits, and adds more jobs to fuel the economy. When you drink ‘organic’ you are supporting and promoting more acres of pesticide-free cropland and ‘cleaner’ spirits at home.
Below are but a small cross-section of organic offerings available.
123 Organic Tequila – Tequila/Jalisco, Mexico
“When I envisioned 123 Organic Tequila (Uno Dos Tres), I was inspired to create a brand specifically with wine enthusiasts in mind. In doing so, we focused on crafting ultra-premium tequilas using artisanal, small-batch distillations to capture the delicate floral aromas and complex mineral flavors that are characteristic of 123 Organic Tequila”
David Ravandi, Founder of 123 Organic Tequila
“I have always been a huge supporter of organic farming and all things organic.” As a tequila that is Certified Organic by the USDA and the EU, Ravaldi is proud to say that his products are “the only fully sustainable spirits in the world.” Reinforcing that commitment, the bottles are each hand blown from recycled glass and the labels use recycled paper and soy ink.
Products: 123 Organic Blanco Uno, 123 Organic Anejo Dos, and 123 Reposado Tres.
Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal – Oaxaca, Mexico
Since 1995, Del Maguey has been creating 100% certified organic Mezcal produced all by hand in the traditional way. Defining the ‘terroir’ from which the agave is sourced, Del Maguey’s single village Mezcals are named for each town from which they are sourced.
Because they only use agave and water in fermentation, these Mezcals have a pure, authentic taste that has singled them out as a favorite amongst Mezcal connoisseurs and bartenders. Del Maguey elevates a cocktail, but the selections’ complex flavors shine when sampled ‘neat.’
Products: Del Maguey line of Mezcals – VIDA, Crema De Mezcal, San Luis Del Rio, Chichicapa, Santo Domingo Albarradas, Tobala, Minero-Santa Catarina Minas, Pechuga, and Iberico.
Greenbar Craft Distillery – Los Angeles, California
According to Melkon Khosrovian, Co-Founder and Spirits Maker at Greenbar Craft Distillery in LA,
“The sole reason every spirit in our portfolio being organic is because we’ve found that whole organic ingredients versus processed and extracted taste better and help us produce more flavorful, more aromatic spirits.”
Going strong since 2004, Greenbar Craft Distillery produces the world’s largest collection of organic spirits. They combine organic American wheat, water, and hand-processed ingredients to produce a winning combination for creating truly organic cocktails. Greenbar prides itself on giving back to the environment by using lightweight bottles and 100% recycled labels, and planting a tree for every bottle they sell.
Products: CRUSOE Organic Rum (Silver and Spiced), IXÁ Organic Tequila, SLOW HAND Organic White Whiskey, TRU Organic Gin, TRU Organic Vodka (Straight, Lemon, Garden, and Vanilla).
KOVAL Distillery – Chicago, Illinois
As Chicago’s first distillery to open since Prohibition, KOVAL has received numerous international organic spirit awards for producing highly-rated whiskies. According to Dr. Sonat Birnecker, President and Co-Founder of KOVAL Distillery,
“What makes KOVAL stand out is our attention to detail—we work with a co-op of local organic farms and only use the ‘heart cut’ of the distillate, allowing us to produce the cleanest, brightest whiskeys and spirits possible. From on-site milling to bottling, every KOVAL product is handmade from grain to bottle in our production facility in Chicago.”
Products: KOVAL Organic Whiskey – Bourbon, Millet, Four Grain, Oat, Rye, White Rye, and Limited Editions. Also Organic Dry Gin, Vodka, Pear Brandy, and Apple Brandy.
Square One Organic Spirits, LLC – Novato, California
Square One, a pioneer in organic spirits, uses 100% organic Montana rye and pure water from the aquifer originating from the Teton Mountains in Wyoming. The bottle labels are made from a blend of bamboo, sugarcane and cotton, which are also organic.
Allison Evanow, Founder and CEO of Square One is particularly proud of their vodka flavored with Bergamot, a flavor best known for its use in Earl Grey tea. The spirit is a blend of organic bergamot citrus layered with the oils of mandarin, navel, and tangerine oranges, as well as essences of ginger, coriander, and juniper.
“I chose the distinctive bergamot because, as a sour orange, its peel have remarkable grassy, floral, and tangy qualities,” explains Evanow. “Using our approach of layering multiple botanicals in spirits, we take this fruit out of obscurity and create an orange-based clear spirit with greater depth and character than what is typically found among singularly flavored orange vodkas.”
Products: Organic vodkas – Straight, Bergamot, Basil, Botanical, and Cucumber.
Wigle Craft Distillery – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Before Kentucky Bourbon, there was Pennsylvania Monongahela Rye, a spirit that died out following the Whiskey Rebellion. Today, Wigle is the only small-batch whiskey distillery in the Western Pennsylvania region and the first one in the city of Pittsburgh since the onset of the 18th Amendment. With a subtle taste of fresh fruit, Wigle whiskey is very approachable for non-whiskey drinkers, and great mixing in cocktails. Enjoy the White Rye or White Wheat releases in your next Manhattan or Whiskey Sour.
Products: Wigle Organic Whiskey – Rye, White Rye, Wheat, and White Wheat. They also produce two Dutch-Style Whiskey-based Gins – Organic ‘Ginever’ and Organic Barrel Rested ‘Ginever.’