Stateways March-April 2013

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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Is the sustainable beverage industry, well, sustainable? By Chantal Martineau he words ���organic wine��� used to strike something between distaste and outright fear in most wine drinkers. For years, the only people interested in organics were on the tree-hugging fringes of society and the organic version of products like wine and beer often didn���t live up to their conventional counterparts. Nowadays, a stroll down the aisles of any grocery store confirms just how many brands have launched green initiatives. From popular potato chip brands to toilet paper, even manufacturers considered ���conventional��� are moving forward with environmentally-friendly practices and products. Makers of beer, wine and spirits are capitalizing on the trend, too, releasing high-quality products that promise to be good to ��� or at least mindful of ��� Mother Earth. ���This issue of sustainable versus old-school chemical-driven practices, it���s not a fad,��� says Tom Geniesse, founder of Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit, a retail shop in New York City built out of green materials. ���It���s a product of a heightened awareness of the importance, from a health perspective, of the future of our grandchildren on this planet.��� That might sound like hippie talk, but when you consider that the organic food and beverage category as a whole grew 9.5% in 2011 (and the numbers are on track for sustained 9%-plus growth through 2013, according to the Organic Trade Association), it���s a good idea to take notice of this section of the market. ���We���re a business that���s tried to create a buying experience for our customers that helps them make better, smarter decisions. We don���t focuses only on organic and sustainable wines, but it is a category that we pay close attention to and is well represented within what we sell,��� explains Geniesse. ���We���ve found that if you were to give someone a choice between a less healthy choice and a more healthy choice, if price and quality are equal, they will choose the more healthy choice. Often, they will pay more. Health I���m defining as not just for their own body, but for the environment.��� The ���healthier��� choice for the environment is not always a clear one. Many consumers now look for the certified organic seal when it comes to their food and beverage purchases, including wine, beer and spirits. For wine, in particular, the organic label can be a tricky one to grasp. There are wines made from organic grapes that are not certified organic due to certain practices or additives introduced in the winery. In the United States, certified organic wines must have no sulfites added to prolong shelf life, which many winemakers don���t believe is viable. Much more common are sustainable wines: not necessarily certified organic, but made with an aim toward miniKunde Family Estate is at the forefront of California wineries committed to sustainable farming. StateWays I I March/April 2013 41

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