With a teeming movement of B corporations and a righteous generation of activists, the notion to give a little of your gains to worthy causes is becoming increasingly prevalent amongst varying industries. Recent studies divulged that millennials (especially) feel it’s important to know a company is doing more for the world than simply turning a profit before they make their purchase, or work there.
And charities all over the world are benefitting. From environmental, humanitarian, social, and agricultural causes, more businesses are waking up, especially after this last year, to the fact that they can help in a big way just by aligning themselves with a nonprofit that also aligns with their branding and company mission.
But with the doom and gloom headlines of the news media daily, it can sometimes feel disparaging to think you can truly make a difference. Want the good news? “Drink responsibly” has a double meaning now. In a brilliantly convenient move, more beverage brands are joining forces with of-the-moment charities to give everyone what they want—booze and a better world.
The following liquor brands pay it forward either locally, nationally, or globally by aiding a myriad of applaudable causes. So when the feeling moves you to do something philanthropic, head to the liquor store for one of these canned tipples or spirit bottles—simply bringing them to the next beach day or neighborhood cookout will help save the world. That’s one slick sip for man, one generous gulp for mankind.
The Hurricane Rum Co.
Caribbean craft blend rum company, Juracán, weaved The Hurricane Rum Co. initiative into its ethos to raise funds through the celebration of Caribbean culture and spirit. The 2017 Hurricane season remains among the most destructive on record—resulting in the loss of thousands of homes and lives. Upon seeing harrowing footage of the hurricanes’ landfall aftermath on the islands, Juracán’s CEO was moved to take action. With a group of like-minded friends, he set out to create a product that would raise money for those caught up in the devastation caused by the increasing number of natural disasters. Enter Batch #001. The bottled creation blends five different rums from across the Caribbean for a super complex flavor profile. Their exclusive partnership with Shelterbox—an international natural disaster relief organization that believes shelter is a human right—ensures all of the profits generated from the sale of Batch #001 support the rebuilding of homes, lives, and communities of those impacted by tropical storms and the like.
Those who want to ensure that their drinking habits are improving someone else’s life somewhere far-flung on the globe, this smokey spirit’s Single Village Project helps to keep a small but mighty nook alive through each bottle sold. Del Maguey’s founder committed the brand to supporting the indigenous palenques—the producers who make mezcal using pure, ancient practices throughout Oaxaca—ensuring they can earn a fair wage and that the production is done in a way that protects each village’s agriculture for years to come. The company also helps support the tiny communities it works directly with by helping to build out internet infrastructure and undertaking reforestation projects. And when Del Maguey was acquired by spirits giant, Pernod Ricard, it increased their investments even more with more backing and resources to contribute to these beloved Mexican villages.
Talk about sourcing local, this vodka brand utilizes potatoes grown just 40 miles away from the Idaho distillery and water from the nearby Snake River. Additionally, Simple is on a mission to end hunger in the US by donating 20 meals for every bottle sold. Since launching, they’ve helped provide more than 1M meals to those in need through local and national hunger relief organizations that work directly with partners in the food supply chain—farmers, manufacturers, and retailers—saving loads of perfectly good food from getting wasted, ending up in a landfill and diverting it to someone in need. With the current pandemic, Food Banks are seeing an overwhelming increase in demand while also suffering from crippling shortages in food, supplies, and manpower. So Simple recently doubled down on their commitment to what has been printed on their bottles since Day 1: “Fight hunger in America.” As nonessential businesses remain closed, they’re increasing their normal contribution from 20 to 40 meals per bottle sold. In that case, ya, we’ll have another round.
When the CEO of the well-established Swedish company walked four miles each day to collect five gallons of water in order to get a glimpse of what it is like for the 1.8 billion people around the world who don’t have viable access to safe water, the company immediately traveled to Peru to meet and partner with Water for People—one of the most respected water organizations out there. Together, they provide a certain liquid most of us take for granted: H2O. As the scarcity of safe, running water in many developing parts of the world is becoming more dyer, Elyx has been on a five-year mission to provide 100,000 people with access to clean drinking water, sustainable systems, and sanitation solutions. Every bottle sold in the US provides access to one week of safe water (140 liters) globally. Just by filling your own glass with a stiff one, you’re filling a glass of agua for someone else. Additionally, the brand celebrates World Water Day, and Earth Day, with annual social media campaigns where thousands of consumers post a #RaiseItForward pledge and virtual toast. For each post, Elyx donates access to one week of safe water to a community in need.
The trendsetting California kombucha is not only one of the pioneering booch brands to enter the spiked fermented tea scene, but also a hyper-active company in giving back. By donating 1% of their annual sales to the international organization, One Percent For the Planet, they help contribute funds to a variety of environmental causes committed to creating a healthier planet. As of September 2019, all of JuneShine’s six-packs changed over from plastic holders to paperboard cartons, and to offset their packaging supply even further, the company plants trees through the National Forest Foundation (NFF) to replace what was used to make the cartons. Through the NFF, they’re able to source paper and cardboard from sustainably-managed forests that plant only native trees. In addition, JuneShine’s brewery is 100% powered by renewable energy, sources only USDA-certified organic ingredients, treats their wastewater before it goes back into the system, and heavily supports the supplemental efforts of their influential ambassador team of athletes, artists, creatives, and changemakers with over 2M in reach.
This lesser-known, yet intriguing malt wine can be hard to come by. The holland-based distillery, Old Duff, acknowledges a respectable bartending salary can be hard to come by as well. For each bottle of its Dutch genever purchased, $1 of net profit goes to charities that aid bartenders (those folks who work long, late hours for your drunken debauchery, usually with no health insurance or job security). Old Duff’s designated charity is the U.S. Bartenders Guild National Charity Foundation—geared to aiding bartenders and their families through tough times and economic downturns (like right now). A friendly reminder to tip your local bartender.
Similarly, Nonino Grappa—in true, authentic Italian spirit—believes whole-heartedly in backing community, family, and industry. The historic and herbaceous aperitif often provides funding for P(our), an international nonprofit organization of the bartender community with a top-shelf thirst for knowledge. The foundation hosts symposiums aimed at creating a global community of craft bartenders, barmen, sommeliers, brewers, distillers, and wine producers which can stimulate and reinvent the beverage world through new ideas, knowledge, inspirations, experiences, and values. Shaking up the industry in more ways than one.
Though they initially set out to make a chicory-and-coffee flavored bitters, the folks at Bittermens shifted their efforts to create a New Orleans Coffee Liqueur instead. After a serendipitous trip to the honorary city, the Bittermens team stumbled on the magical fusion of Belgian candi syrup, French chicory root, and Brazilian coffee beans. Wanting to give back to the vibrant Crescent City that led to the kickass recipe for the liqueur, every bottle sold worldwide donates 50 cents to all different local humanitarian charities. An initiative and cocktail component we can definitely get behind—beads on and bottoms up for NOLA.
The couple behind Greenbar Distillery continually expands their philanthropic ethos as much as their product line of canned cocktails and bottled spirits. Aside from solely using certified-organic, fair-trade ingredients and 100% recyclable packaging, each time you buy a bottle, a tree is planted. With more than half of the world’s tropical forests already gone—and on a fast track to losing the other half at the rate of one acre every second—more than half the species of plants and animals in the world are disappearing, along with carbon stores, which stabilize the climate. Greenbar works directly with Sustainable Harvest International, an organization that works to halt tropical deforestation, build strong, self-supporting communities through agribusiness, and educate people on intensive “slash and burn” tactics. Since 2008, they’ve planted almost 900,000 trees in the rain forests of Central America—strategivally placed to provide vital carbon sinks (natural reservoirs that absorb more carbon than it releases), along with necessary shade for fair-trade crops such as coffee and cacao that native farmers’ depend their livelihoods on.
Lest you assume only tree huggers do good, this Florida-based distillery will prove otherwise. Founded by veterans with a lifetime of service under their belts, American Freedom Distillery’s ongoing mission is to give back to its very own. The backbone of the brand aptly supports former members of the Armed Forces with each bottle of Horse Soldier—an eight-year wheated bourbon bottled at 95 proof—going towards maintaining the America’s Response Monument, nicknamed the “Horse Soldier Statue.” Dedicated to U.S. Special Forces, the statue commemorates a Green Beret insertion into Afghanistan in the months following 9-11. In addition, the company also contributes to the Warrior Sailing Program—helping vets deal with PTSD and injuries—as well as the Green Beret Foundation, The Armed Forces Families Foundation, local Florida non-profits, and many more.
Tucked away in an idyllic village of Finland, the family distillery keeps a special focus on what they call “circular economy” with the help of their very own bioenergy power plant. The plant enables them to cultivate starch and raw materials for animal feed and fertilizer, use barley husks as fuel, and produce steam energy for spirit distillation. Even the carbon dioxide generated in the process is collected and used in greenhouse cultivation. Meanwhile, Altia, the company behind Koskenkorva vodka, works with the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) to restore and protect the ecological balance of the Baltic Sea and other waterways in critical condition from climate change. Today, the Baltic Sea is considered one of the most polluted seas in the world, with the most severe problems being eutrophication, hazardous substances, risks of the maritime traffic, and the loss of biodiversity.
With a motto of “You Drink, We Give” on their site, the Washington state-based distillery donates a portion of its proceeds to cancer research. Four Leaf was founded by two friends who both lost a parent to cancer, but both believe in the uplifting, hopeful omen of a four leaf clover. When the distillery was born, so was their decision to support Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center whose Nobel Prize-winning work on bone marrow transplantation is making waves in the healthcare industry. Four Leaf’s unique tea-infused liqueurs and rums help to continue the center’s funding of ongoing research on immunotherapy and transplantation. F*ck cancer and cheers to the luck of the Irish.