Spirits are generally judged by taste, smell and even price. But there’s another important criterion: how they give back. A number of brands around the world not only produce fine alcohol but also have found a way to help their local communities. So start off the year by drinking for a good cause.
This Wisconsin-based craft distillery makes an acclaimed line of spirits, including a smooth vodka, a complex white whiskey and a London dry-style gin. Most of the ingredients are organic and grown in-state, plus one percent of all revenue goes to regional environmental groups.
In 2008, this French brand launched the world’s first portfolio of Fair Trade Certified spirits, and it was exported to the US just last summer. So far, there’s a vodka made from Bolivian quinoa, a goji liqueur that uses Himalayan berries and a coffee liqueur flavored with beans from Mexico.
Karlsson’s Gold Vodka:
At the heart of Karlsson’s Gold are artisanal new potatoes from the Cape Bjäre region of southern Sweden. The brand’s founders came up with the idea for the spirit as a way to support local farmers and stave off developers who were trying to buy their land.
VeeV Açaí Spirit:
VeeV is made with the Amazonian super-fruit açaí and was started by brothers Carter and Courtney Reum in 2007. It claims to be the only certified carbon-neutral spirits company in the world and donates $1 to a rainforest-preservation project for every bottle sold.
Around the middle of every bottle of Zacapa Rum 23 is a woven band of dried palm leaves. This traditional Mayan handicraft, called petate, is produced by a group of 750 female artisans in Guatemala. The project helps support their community and ensures the survival of the art form.