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The Future of Sustainability And What It Means For Your Bar

Sustainability is being discussed more and more in the bar industry, but what does it mean and what can you do about it? Global Cocktailian, Lauren Mote, looks at the current and future trends of sustainability and discusses ways you can play your part in your venue.

What is sustainability?

You may have heard the word ‘sustainability’ thrown about but trust me – you are going to hear a lot more in the next few years. This isn’t just a trend in our industry, it’s a mindset and a movement that we all need to be a part of. Sustainability is more important now than ever before, whether it’s making responsible choices when sourcing ingredients or taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint. Now is the time to make positive changes that will benefit the future of our venues and our planet.

A recent consumer poll revealed that nearly one in two customers would be willing to pay 10% more for goods produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way. So as our customers demand a more sustainable, responsible serve it makes sense for us to create a more environmentally-conscious ways of working.

Aside from the obvious benefit of helping the environment, customers are becoming more conscious about this topic and by making some changes you can really help you reputation and attract new people to your venue. The other benefit of being more sustainable is the bottom line financials. You cannot argue with saving money! Often simple changes, such as unplugging ice machines and energy-sucking appliances from the walls at night, can make a huge difference. The key is to instill a more mindful approach to each action, each drink and each interaction we have with our customers.

Current and future industry trends in sustainability

Ever since the first bar in the world with no perishables was launched in 2013, the industry has started to look towards a more sustainable future. The bartending industry has often been accused of playing catch up with the food industry but I foresee 2019 being the year that will see us leading the way.

Current trends in sustainability

At the moment the industry is seeing the next step in sustainability – with more bartenders and bar owners not just doing small changes but rather designing/re-designing bar programmes with sustainability at their core. It’s not just about the macro environment, but the micro one, too.

Some trends we are seeing:

How to play your part

It’s difficult to imagine how you’ll clean up the oceans or stop deforestation, but the small bite-sized pieces we can do really contribute to the overall grid – use LED lights over metal-bottomed tea lights, buy fresh produce directly from local farmers markets reflecting the true seasonality of your region, create shelf-stable products with product in season, eliminate daily menu reprints, unplug the ice machine at night-time and manage your food waste. The health of our local industry is truly important, when we glue them altogether.

As bartenders and bar owners we too can help energise our supply chain by sourcing our products from more sustainable companies and demanding this from our favourite brands. It’s incredibly important to ask your suppliers for transparency in how things are grown, processed and manufactured, and to hold them accountable to their ethos, through yours.

As more and more of us see both the financial benefits as well as the environmental benefits, sustainability will become a more commonplace in our industry and not just something that leading high end venues are doing. The expectation for bars, restaurants, grocers, cafes and coffee shops is that sustainability is an overarching theme that helps dictate how you do business – there are many alternatives to the status quo.

Join in the conversation and Tweet us at @diageobarac, share your photos on Instagram @diageobarac or post on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.

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