A Scottish distillery has launched what it describes as the world’s first climate-positive gin. In doing so, the company has set the bar for other alcoholic beverage companies and potentially recalibrated the expectations of environmentally conscious drinkers.

A five-year collaboration between Arbikie Distillery, Abertay University and the James Hutton Institute in Scotland culminated in Nàdar gin, which is made from garden peas. The spirit has earned a ‘climate-positive’ status as it offsets a higher level of carbon dioxide emissions than it creates during production. For example, pea-derived waste generated through distillation is repurposed as animal feed. Additionally, pea production does not require synthetic fertilisers, reducing environmental impact.

Manufacturer efforts to demonstrate increased environmental responsibility typically entail taking steps to reduce their environmental footprint. The innovative gin, however, illustrates that companies can go a step further by actually removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

This has the potential to shift consumer expectations of what an environmentally responsible product looks like, particularly because 60% of global consumers consider food and drinks with ‘low carbon footprint’ as ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ appealing. Indeed, the desire to choose more sustainable options is evident in the alcoholic beverage sector as 35% of global drinkers are ‘always’ or ‘often’ influenced by how ethical or environmentally friendly a product is when purchasing alcoholic beverages.

For alcoholic beverage brands, environmental credentials can prove to be a critical factor but its benefits are often lost in the abundance of premium, craft and purity claims. Moreover, sustainability benefits can help enhance the permissibility associated with the consumption of indulgent products such as alcoholic drinks.

At a time when consumer attitudes towards alcohol are focused on elimination and reduction, a positive message may be exactly what is needed.

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