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Sombra Mezcal unveils sustainability initiatives

Published 23 January 2018

Sombra Mezcal, a sustainable spirit created by master Sommelier Richard Betts, has announced a three phase environmental consciousness raising movement.

The first phase shares its cutting-edge environmental practices with the Mezcal and spirits industry.

The second enlists the support of the U.S. bartending community through its first sustainable cocktail competition, which will be conducted virtually to minimize its carbon footprint. The third energizes consumers to become active stewards of the planet.

Sombra Mezcal has been committed to sustainability from its creation in 2006. Its recently-opened distillery in Oaxaca puts into practice over a decade's worth of research and insights from the field to the bottle.

The three phase movement is a call to action to fellow producers, conscientious bartenders and consumers who love fine spirits and care about the environment.

Phase 1: 'Distill to Sustain the Land and the People' Initiative Shares Environmental Insights and Practices

The first phase of the movement, 'Distill to Sustain the Land and the People,' now rolling out, showcases Sombra Mezcal's pioneering work in sustainability at its new distillery (palenque). The company recently shared specific production practices that safeguard Oaxaca, its land and the palenque's artisans.

These include using organic agaves, solar power instead of animal drudgery, sustainable wood to prevent deforestation, rainwater to minimize municipal resources and transforming harmful distillery waste into compost for farmers and adobe bricks for local construction. It also includes harnessing clean-burning natural gas to fire its stills, thereby shielding its artisans from injurious wood smoke.

Sombra Mezcal is encouraging other Mezcal producers to adopt these real-life, eco-conscious practices and innovate their own. Its palenque is living proof that these practices are not only good for the environment and local residents, but economically viable and produce delicious results.

Sombra Mezcal's commitment to the land and people of Oaxaca also extends to the global community. In addition to undertaking local educational initiatives, Sombra Mezcal is a proud member of 1% For The Planet, and donates at least 1% of sales to certified environmental charities worldwide.

Phase 2: First-Ever 'Shake and Stir to Sustain the Land and the People,' a Virtual Bartender Cocktail Competition with a Higher Purpose

Sombra Mezcal's commitment to sustainability extends from the palenque to the bar and bartending community. As the second phase in the movement, it will launch its first-ever 'Shake and Stir to Sustain the Land and the People' Bartender Cocktail Competition in Spring 2018.

The competition is designed to provide bartenders with a means to participate intellectually, emotionally and practically in sustainability. To minimize the carbon footprint of the competition, it will be conducted virtually, rather than flying in bartenders from all over the country to compete.

The competition is open to all professional bartenders across the U.S. Its judging criteria includes the creative use of Sombra Mezcal, incorporating local ingredients to reduce the carbon footprint, supporting farm-to-glass agriculture, as well as reducing, upcycling or eliminating bar waste. Sombra Mezcal sees the competition unleashing the drinks community's creativity in leveraging sustainable ingredients and inventing new techniques.

The grand prize is a one-week apprenticeship at Sombra Mezcal's new palenque to learn sustainable practices first-hand, from the fields to the bottle. It will also include planting new trees to combat deforestation.

Phase 3: 'Drink to Sustain the Land and the People' Expands the Reach to Consumers

The third phase, 'Drink to Sustain the Land and the People,' expands the sustainability imperative from bartenders to consumers. As part of the cocktail competition, consumers across the U.S. will be able to sample and support sustainable Sombra Mezcal cocktails at bars that are committed to going green. It will enlist them in the conversation of what makes cocktails sustainable and in harmony with the planet.

This component will be expanded in 2019 with a consumer cocktail competition, 'Live to Sustain the Land and the People.' Modeled on the bartender competition, it will have home bartenders submit cocktail recipes using Sombra Mezcal and sustainable ingredients and techniques. Its grand prize is also an apprenticeship at Sombra Mezcal's new palenque.

Source: Company Press Release