When it comes to imbibing tequila, “responsibility” is scarcely the first word the infamous Mexican spirit evokes. Known for its ability to get white folks on the dancefloor, generous tips in the bartender’s jar, and making clothes fall off, Tequila is generally known as “responsible” only in the sense of being responsible for things, namely: pregnancies, embarrassing photos, and the end of friendships post-best men’s speeches.
So it may be surprising to learn, as it were, that one company not only produces a delicious example of the infamous Mexican mouthwash, but in fact goes out of its way to ensure that theirs is about as responsible as it gets.
Altos, the premium arm of the Jaliscan Olmeca distillery, has been hell-bent on sustainability since its inception by bartender Dre Masso, and Master Distiller Jesús Hernández, in 2009. Employing traditional techniques, Altos is made in a facility which churns out vast quantities of this delicious product, all with minimal waste and a concerted effort to remain carbon neutral.
Though you’ve likely tasted Altos before, you might not know it. Given that it’s not available in bottle shops, many won’t instantly recognise its clear, rectangular bottle with thanks to its lack of shelf-presence. Where you will find Altos, however, is in the speed rail and on the back bar of loads of reputable venues.
Now, they’re extending their ethos of sustainability into these venues, through a new initiative: Altos Cantina Ecologica.
Most cocktail competitions see a bevy of hipsters sling drinks on a stage with a waxed moustache, a microphone and fifteen minutes to prove their aptitude at creating something magical. Forged off the back of Altos’ global Tahona Society programme, which was launched earlier this year, Altos Cantina Ecologica sets a standard that is as much based on resourcefulness and environmental responsibility as it is tasty tipples.
The Altos distillery uses 47 per cent less water than the industry standard and implements a zero-waste landfill certification plan. Altos Cantina Ecologica hopes to take this lead, and apply the same principles to the venues which use their product, by way of using sustainable drinking vessels, eschewing single-use disposables which harm the environment, and by having minimal waste from behind the stick.
“The Tahona Society collective spirit celebrates outward-looking, locally focused initiatives that reflect bartenders’ efforts to give back and provide sustainability solutions with their colleagues, communities and industry,” commented Masso, who co-founded Altos as a brand, as well as The Tahona Society.
“Having just been in Sydney and Melbourne, I’m excited to see what Australia comes up with for the Altos Cantina Ecológica.”
Eric Thomson, Marketing Director for Pernod Ricard Australia, added: “Sustainability is becoming increasing important to our consumers and this project is an exciting opportunity for Altos to support this agenda, and create change across the hospitality industry.
“Sustainability is a key focus for Altos, and the Pernod Ricard business more broadly, and we hope that this project will inspire others and create awareness around the importance of sustainable businesses.”
Prospective venues have until 1 December, 2018 to enter. Competing bars enter by submitting a mini-business plan that outlines their initiative to implement sustainable practices within their workplace, using Altos. Eight winners are then selected to demonstrate their actions at the Cantina Ecológica week in February 2019.
The winning team will be able to send five people to visit Mexico in April 2019 for a sweet trip to the Altos Tequila Distillery, and, most importantly, all involved get to pat themselves on the back for using a product which so actively promotes good practices and positive change within an industry ripe for a refreshment in terms of waste management.
It’s not every day you can wake up after a night of drinking tequila and feel genuinely great about yourself, but thanks to Altos, you can sleep easy knowing that no matter how bad your head might feel, the planet will be grateful.