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A Zero Waste Happy Hour

The Toronto Version


Hello Everyone,


Today I get to talk about one my favourite things - DRINKING ALCOHOL.

Personally, my favourite alcoholic beverage is wine - I worked in the wine industry for a few years, most recently at Trius, and I have my WSET Level 1 Award in Wines. My husband, Will, also has his Wine Business Management Certificate. Point of the story being that we consume, swirl, taste and talk about wine a lot.


Alcohol is a very socially accepted drink to enjoy in our society, and along with it has come millions of names, labels, brands and packaging.. lots of packaging, including the haunting six-pack rings. Isn't there a way we can still drink without creating all this waste?


HELL YA! Here are some tips for creating a more eco-friendly (and less wasteful) bar cart in your home. I will be talking about waste free options for spirits, beers, wine and cider in Toronto, as well as some general happy hour tips.


Spirits


First step = buy local from the producer themselves, not from the LCBO.


My favourite local distillery is the Toronto Distillery Co. They are certified organic, and all of their spirits are made from locally sourced grains and produce.


When buying spirits, always buy the biggest glass bottle that you can find! I'm being serious haha. Buying a bigger bottle saves a bunch of smaller bottles from ending up in the recycling, and cuts down on your waste a tiny bit. Remember to re-use your bottles afterwards as well - they make great flower vases.


Unfortunately, I haven't come across any distillery re-fill programs yet in Toronto.


Beer


First step = buy local from the brewery themselves, not from the LCBO.


It is so easy to buy beer zero waste! Find a locally brewery near you that has a growler program. Once you have a few growlers they should last years and you can just keep refilling them.


Click Here to see a list of Toronto Breweries that have growler programs.


Steam Whistle Brewing is also a very eco-friendly option for Toronto residents. They use 100% all natural ingredients and brew all their beer with 100% renewable electricity.



Wine


First step = buy local from the winery themselves, not from the LCBO.



One of my favourite new inventions is wine on tap! When restaurants and bars start to re-open remember to ask if they serve wine on tap before making a selection. Wine on tap tastes the same as it would from a bottle, yet it is zero waste. We need to start asking restaurants to get on board with this - it is such a great option.


For your own wine supply, I would recommend buying from Southbrooks Vineyards. Not only is their wine delicious (especially their gamay noir), but their 150 acre property is certified organic and biodynamic. They are doing free delivery on all orders in Canada for the next 3 days.


Some people have suggested that making your own wine is a good zero waste option since you can reuse the bottles over and over. Although this is a good zero waste idea, I don't personally do this because I am a wine snob (lol). Winemakers spend 10-15 years learning to perfect their wine making method, and people think they can learn in a few hours? No way. It is also good to keep in mind that "wine making kits"often use unnatural chemical additives to give you the taste you desire (oaked, vanilla, coffee, apple ect.) These powdered additives usually lower the wine quality considerably.


Cider


First step = buy local from the producer themselves, not from the LCBO.



Some of my favourite local cider companies are:

Great Cider (certified organic)

Niagara Cider

Hard Way Cider Co.


Although I haven't searched in Toronto yet, look for cider companies that have growler programs as well.


Eco Tips -

Avoid the use of disposable straws

Avoid using disposable coasters and cocktail napkins

Garnish your drinks with herbs and fresh berries

Skip the toothpicks and use rosemary to spear your garnishes

Always order on tap when you have the option

Never buy cans with plastic 6-pack rings


At the moment it's almost impossible to purchase alcohol waste free, but if we keep asking for more re-fill and on tap options we can definitely get there. As consumers, we have the power to ask for what we want and stop buying the stuff we don't want. Any more questions about a zero waste happy hour? Let me know in the comments section below.


Happy Drinking (responsibly of course)!


Cheers,





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