Tips to create more sustainable cocktails

Sustainability is at the center of many discussions. Luckily! Because minimizing the negative social and environmental impact of corporations but also of daily activities needs to be a priority.

Even the drinks that we consume have a carbon footprint, but Buen Vato is convinced that it is possible to enjoy alcoholic beverages in a more sustainable way possible. So here are three simple tips or ideas to prepare more sustainable cocktails.

  1. Check the products that you buy

The first step is to do conscious shopping. Today is easy to check the labels of the products and get information about the producers. Such as all that we buy, it’s important to verify if the products, like spirits, are responsible to the environment and the society in their production and distribution processes and with their packages. Does this take longer? Maybe, but the world needs it.

  1. Zero waste cocktails

Fruits and vegetables can give interesting notes to our cocktails, and we can sustainably use them. Avoid exotic fruits and use local and seasonal products. Use the whole product, from the leaves to the skin, and buy some of them that people discard because they don´t look perfect. Another tip is to use dried fruits and herbs or fermented drinks to avoid perishable ingredients.

  1. Fewer residues, please!

In recent years we have seen the devastating effect of residues on the environment. Fortunately, people use fewer and fewer straws in their drinks. Avoid elements like paper umbrellas or napkins, you can be creative in your cocktail’s decoration with fruit waste, for example. Although we can recycle, it´s better don´t generate residues.

So, let’s raise your glass and say: Here’s to Change!

What about the water footprint?

Water as a renewable resource is one of the great concerns today, mainly for two reasons: we cannot live without it and it is in crisis, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) warns that water scarcity affects more than 40% of people and this risk is projected to rise.

When it comes to water, the figures for the environmental impact of the food industry change drastically. The EAT-Lancet Commission states that 70% of all global water withdrawals are used for food production. But not all foods used the same amount of freshwater in their production. A good indicator to know how much water is used for a given product is the water footprint. In their article Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers, J. Poore and T. Nemecek show that milk requires as much as 623 liters of freshwater per liter of the finished product meanwhile 1 kg of apples takes 180 liters of freshwater. Researchers gave us the numbers; it is our turn to act and make educated choices.

Tequila is not an exemption from water-intensive production. The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) in collaboration with the Mario Molina Centre concluded that to produce 1 liter of Tequila 40% alc. Vol. is required 15 liters of fresh water on average. However, the impact on the freshwater resource does not end in consumption. According to the article Tequila vinasses: generation and full-scale treatment processes, during the distillation process, a high pollutant by-product is created, namely vinasse. Vinasse (Figure 1) is characterized by high levels of organic and inorganic matter, high temperature (90 °C), and low pH (3.0–4.5), which causes deterioration of the limited freshwater availability in Mexico. Therefore, it is frightening that 10-12 L of polluted water (vinasses) are generated for each liter of Tequila and 80% of the vinasse produced in the Tequila Industry is thrown away without making sure the parameters are like those found in the natural water bodies. (Figure 2).

Figure 1 Storage Vinasse after the distillation process.

Figure 2 Vinasse placed in the environment will move to near water bodies and finally, nature.

The Tequila industry should propose actions on both freshwater consumption and vinasse production. Understanding the water footprint of Tequila can help to find the Tequila that has the least possible negative impact on the environment, by proposing a solution to clean (treat) vinasse to return it to water bodies without endangering local life. Buen Vato focus to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible. We work closely with the producer to implement actions that aim to reduce the vinasse problem, by making them safe for life in the surrounding areas.


Willett, J. Rockström, B. Loken, M. Springmann, T. Lang, S. Vermeulen and e. al., “Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems”, The LANCET commissions, vol. 393, no. 10170, pp. 447-492, 2019.

Poore and T. Nemecek, “Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers”, Science, vol. 360, pp. 987-992, 2018.

Mario Molina Center; CRT, “Sustainability Strategy for the Agave-Tequila Production Chain”, Mario Molina Center, 2016.

López-López, G. Davila-Vazquez, E. León-Becerril and e. al., “Tequila vinasses: generation and full scale treatment processes”, Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology, 2010.

Carbon emission in the Tequila industry: something we have to think about

Severe storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires are some of the effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is the scientific group assembled by the United Nations (UN), GHG emissions continue to rise, due to the lack of ambitious plans to reduce them.

Currently, as reported by NASA, the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), an important GHG, are above levels that have not been seen since 3 million years ago when sea levels were higher enough to inundate today’s major cities around the world. Consequently, the global temperature has increased by 1.01 °C since pre-industrial time (1880) and the UN’s scientific group has established that it will reach 1.5 °C if we do not move to a low-carbon economy and society.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed with these facts and think that it is nothing left to do. It is possible that the alcoholic beverage category poses major environmental challenges at global and local levels because while the impact of alcohol consumption on health is well studied, knowledge about the environmental impact of alcohol is limited.

The study Climate impact of alcohol consumption in Sweden says that alcoholic beverages production generates GHG emissions in the range of 0.73 to 2.38 kg CO2e/L (carbon dioxide equivalent per liter). Wine has the highest impact per liter (2.38 kg CO2e/L), followed by spirits (2.07 kg CO2e /L), and emissions from beer are lower (0.73-0.81 kg CO2e/L). This work also highlights the major contributors to the carbon footprint of alcoholic beverages, which are highly dependent on the category. For instance, whereas the brewery process accounts for 2/5 of total emissions from beer production, feedstock and packaging are the major contributors to liquor and wine production. Emissions from packaging in wine and liquor are particularly higher due to the preference for personalized heavy glass bottles.

Despite differences in carbon footprint, large carbon footprint reductions are evident across all alcoholic beverage types; however, realizing this potential may require tailoring solutions and sustainable actions for the different alcoholic beverages. The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) in collaboration with the Mario Molina Centre developed sustainable actions for the Tequila industry, considering the greatest contributors to GHG emissions. On average, Tequila at 40% alcohol volume produces 3 kg CO2e/L (2.5 if the transport is not considered, as in the Swedish work). However, feedstock does not play an important role here as it only contributes to 1/10 of the total GHG emissions. On the other hand, the processing of feedstock and packaging is the major contributor, accounting for approximately 2/5 and 1/5 respectively. The use of fossil fuels (mainly fuel oil) and heavy glass bottles are the causes behind those high contributions.

To sum things up, all our consumer choices have an environmental impact, one bigger than others. Therefore, it is necessary to know the carbon footprint of products to make educated choices.

The Tequila industry must focus on the feedstock processing and packaging that experts approved as the most important to reduce environmental impact. Understanding the carbon footprint of Tequila can help to find the Tequila that has the least possible negative impact on the environment, by using low-carbon fuels and lighter packaging solutions.

It is clear for Buen Vato where to focus to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible. The paperboard bottle is one of the actions that we implemented to do so, reducing the carbon footprint up to 86%, compared to a conventional glass bottle. Besides, we work closely with the producer to implement actions in the production of the Tequila shortly. All this considered, Buen Vato is here to redefine the way Tequila is made.



NASA, 2022. [Online]. Available:

Hallström, N. Håkansson, A. Åkesson, A. Wolk and U. Sonesson, “Climate impact of alcohol consumption in Sweden”, Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 201, pp. 287-294, 2018.

Mario Molina Center; CRT, “Sustainability Strategy for the Agave-Tequila Production Chain”, Mario Molina Center, 2016.