By Tom Tanner, Sustainable Restaurant Association
Just as chefs have a big role to play in helping diners use the power of their appetites wisely, so bartenders and mixologists can satisfy customers’ thirst for drinks that don’t cost the earth. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Discarded Spirits, avallen, Sustainable Wine Solutions, The Uncommon Wine of England and Sustainable Wine Roundtable on Behind the Backbar. This short season of super informative sessions is designed to increase knowledge and skills when it comes to all things sustainable in a drinks-led business. We start serving at 11am on 26 October. Get your order in now for that and check out the other sessions here. They’re all FREE.
And to whet your whistle, we asked Tim Etherington-Judge, Co-Founder Avallen Spirits, to give us a flavour of what to expect from the first session, Biodiversity on the Backbar.
Q: For the uninitiated, what does biodiversity mean and how does it relate to booze and bars?
Tim: Biodiversity is short for biological diversity, the variety of plant and animal species that can be found within a specific area. It relates to the bar industry because all alcohol (with the exception of Air Co Vodka) is produced from plants and our backbars are made up of products made up from four major categories: cereal grains, sugar cane, agave, and grapes.
Q: Can bars really make a difference to biodiversity
Tim: As the vast majority of alcohol is made from monocrops, plants that are grown in biodiversity deserts, we can absolutely make a positive impact on biodiversity. Choosing products that are made from raw materials that come from biodiverse systems, such as apples, or are grown using regenerative farming methods is key to improving biodiversity.
Q: What is Avallen and what is it doing to promote biodiversity?
Tim: Avallen is a calvados, a French apple brandy made in Normandy. We are a climate positive certified B Corp. One of the reasons we chose calvados is because the apples are grown in traditional orchards, which are particularly biodiverse by farming standards. The trees, meadows, wildflowers and hedgerows provide a diverse mosaic habitat supporting a wide range of bees, birds, small mammals and other pollinators. We also donate 1% of our turnover to charities supporting wild bee populations.
Q: If a bartender is to put biodiversity front of mind when sourcing drinks, what questions should they be asking – how can they tell the difference between a greenwasher and genuinely green drinks brand?
Tim: What is the raw material the product is made from? Does the brand support regenerative farming? Can I increase the variety of raw materials on my backbar? Can I use locally grown native species in my cocktails? Unfortunately, greenwashing is rife in business, especially around carbon neutral claims. It’s important to ask: Is the brand transparent about what they are claiming?
Q: Give us a flavour of what you’ll be sharing in your Behind the Backbar session on 26 October?
Tim: I’ll be getting people enthusiastic about the importance of biodiversity, why bees are so awesome, how to improve biodiversity behind the bar, and how to get your customers excited about it.
Q: What’s your favourite biodiverse-positive drink?
Tim: We have a wonderful drink called Melissa (Greek for Bee). 40ml Avallen, 20ml Rye Whiskey, 10ml Fennel Syrup, and 2 dashes of Peychauds bitters.
Book your free place to find out how you can put biodiveristy front and centre of your backbar.