With climate change as an ever-looming threat, businesses and bars are looking at what they can do to help the planet by becoming more sustainable.
It has been a very wet summer for us Brits so far, which many have put down to climate change. With other parts of the world seeing record high temperatures, Brits are yet to get a proper glimpse of the sun, making the most of the hospitality industry both inside and out.
Ahead of Environmental Awareness month, Bar Magazine looks into how businesses can become more sustainable and how this can benefit bars in the long run, and it’s not just paper straws that will change the world – but it’s a good start.
So what can you do to make your bar more sustainable? Speaking with Georgi Radev, a leading pioneer in sustainable hospitality initiatives and owner of Laki Kāne, comments that it is really important to understand what sustainability means in order to achieve it; “Sustainability is a journey and way of living, not a destination. Laki Kāne is a Tropical Escape bar. We want to do our part to save the real tropical destination for the generations to come”.
He also described how various brands create sustainable vessels using waste material; “There are even companies on the market now that link businesses to minimise waste. There was a cocktail we made for an event that was made completely out of waste fruits and nothing went in the bin. Everything was edible”.
Laki Kāne use home-made syrups/ingredients and garnishes, making sure to reuse their waste as much as possible. This helps to create unique flavours which customers can’t find anywhere else – which also have nutritional benefits. The bar works closely with a local juice shop where they take their waste and use it in the Laki Kāne menu.
Lottie Muir, founder of The Midnight Apothecary, agrees that you should source your own locally grown ingredients; “We try to source our ingredients as locally possible which reduces our carbon footprint. We are lucky enough to be near the legendary ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’, so we use local distilleries and breweries based there for our gin and beer.
“We grow plants in our roof garden to drink rather than eat (apart from the edible garnishes which we encourage people to munch) so most of the ingredients we use to infuse our spirits and mocktails do not have to travel far!” She added. Through foraging their own ingredients, this has put The Midnight Apothecary on the map with their ‘Wild Cocktails’.
Bars operate using a lot of water, which Lottie warns could be a problem; “Water usage is a big issue for bars because of the amount of ice we use, as well as the water for the plants, so it’s a factor to consider.
“We are also trend-setters and influencers to a certain extent, so there is another responsibility to showcase alternative and low-impact ways of making delicious drinks. Cocktails are not a necessity so perhaps there is a responsibility to source your ingredients thoughtfully and not always go for the cheapest ingredient” Lottie said.
Changes to become greener can be challenging and time consuming. However, there are many benefits this can have on business. One such factor is staffing, creating jobs and generating more creativity when discussing the ways businesses can thrive sustainably. Keeping the bigger picture in mind, a greener bar can positively impact the environment when waste is reduced, and carbon footprint monitored.
If plants struggle to grow due to unpredictable climates, the hospitality industry will find it hard to get ingredients for their venues, with food being an integral part of the industry.
Mr. Lyan of Lyaness, says that looking beyond the obvious will help bars to become greener; “Address your material waste, look beyond the obvious monoculture ingredients and the formulae that reinforce these, work with your suppliers and work in collaboration. But mostly, ask questions. Challenge what is entrenched and listen to suggestions of what else can be done”.
In the long term, these changes will have a big influence on our way of life as Mr. Lyan explains; “We are much smaller than the negative impacts caused by big industries, but we can demonstrate that there is a demand for luxury experiences that do well for the planet, so it encourages other industries and governments to pay attention to the topic”.
Antonio Oliveira, Flor de Caña Brand Ambassador for Europe, details the best steps in making your venue more sustainable.
– Making sure the back bar is stacked with brands that are certified sustainable.
– Sourcing sustainably made ingredients that are produced locally and/or seasonally.
– Sorting the bar’s waste and recycling as much as possible.
– Reducing the use of single-use items, such as napkins, straws, cutlery, etc.
– Reducing food waste by managing inventory properly and avoiding expiration dates.
– Auditing food waste to identify opportunities to re-use food waste in cocktails or dishes.
– Investing in energy-efficient equipment: refrigerators, light bulbs, etc.
– Substituting paper towels in bathrooms for electric hand dyers.
Flor de Caña is a sustainably produced rum. Their material is Bonsucro certified and Fair Trade, capturing and recycling all CO2 emissions during the fermentation process and the distillation is 100% powered by renewable energy using bagasse as biomass. Their natural ageing process is sugarless with no artificial ingredients or additives.
Antonio stated that; “We are proud to say that we are the world’s only spirit brand to be both Carbon Neutral and Fair Trade certified. The Carbon Neutral certification, issued by Carbon Trust, assures consumers we compensate all carbon emissions during the entire lifecycle of our products. The Fair-Trade Certification, issued by Fair Trade USA, means the brand is sustainably produced in compliance with over 300 rigorous labour, social and environmental standards.
“Other sustainability programs include planting 50,000 trees every year since 2005 and operating a company-owned school (since 1913) and a company-owned hospital (since 1958) to benefit employees free of charge” he added.
Bars can be creative in their search for sustainability, from conscious cocktails to greener glasses, eco-friendly bars are becoming the future of the hospitality industry.