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Raising a glass to the success of organic alcohol

by John Dean 06 Dec 2010
Raising a glass to the success of organic alcohol

It's been one of the fastest growing trends in environmental shopping - the time of the organic tipple seems to have well and truly arrived.

Research issued today (Monday December 6) by UK-based magazine Ethical Consumer suggests that Britain's drinkers have an unprecedented choice of ethically and environmentally produced beers, wines and spirits.

The research team identified more than 350 organic and 250 Fairtrade wines now retailing in the UK, as well as more than 700 micro-breweries, of which 90 are organic.

According to Ethical Consumer, this means that real-ale drinkers can reduce the carbon footprint of their pint because the carbon emissions of locally-produced beer are 40% of shop-bought bottled beer or foreign beer sold in a pub.

Whisky and spirit drinkers are also able to benefit from an increase in the environmental awareness of producers with more than 20 different brands of organic brandy, gin, rum, vodka and whisky available.

Rob Harrison, from Ethical Consumer, co-author of the guide, said: ''The drinks sector has not been immune from the environmental revolution that has led to sweeping changes in other food and drink sectors. In an industry which has in the past been dominated by a handful of giant multi-national corporations, consumers today have a huge range of ethical alternatives to choose from.''

And it seems popular with UK drinkers. According to the Soil Association, research showed that in the twelve weeks to November 24, organic alcohol saw a 23% sales increase on the same period last year.

This was encouraging news because the Association says that sales of organic alcoholic beverages fell to ÂŁ27.1 million in 2009, down 30%. Beer sales were hit by the economic downturn, fewer labels being stocked by major retailers and less pub visits. Spirits, wine and cider seemed to fare better, said the Association.


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