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Getting Lit, Responsibly: Ethical Summer Drinks for the 4th and Beyond

At Klerify HQ in the Midwest, summer hasn’t exactly started off on a high note. We’ve had tons of rain and not much in the way of weather that’s great for baseball and beer, or gardening and gin. It's time to celebrate and light up the sky and your day with great, ethical drinks.

We want to make sure you’re ready for the rest of summer no matter where you are. And that means queueing up drink choices that are tasty for you and good for the Earth. Beer: Easy peasy

Beer is an easy choice for summer, and it’s generally Klerify-approved. Hops and barley are the main ingredients and neither has a huge environmental impact, except for the use of water to grow these ingredients. Too much is bad for your weight and heart health, so be sensible.

Buy your beer from local, independent breweries. That’s best for everyone because it keeps money in the community, small enterprises in business, and contributes to your state economy. Independent breweries are a unique story of local job creation and the independent breweries increasingly buy ingredients from local farmers. Plus asking for a local brew is a great bar conversation starter. Look for the Independent Craft label to ensure that the beer you purchase is independently produced and not from a massive corporation that takes profit from your community.

Liquor is quicker

Whether your drink of choice involves gin, brandy, whiskey, rye, or rum, moderate alcohol intake can be good for your mental and physical health. Remember that we said moderate. Mod.Er.Ate. That means a few drinks a week, not a few drinks an hour. Hard alcohol is more likely than beer to involve environmental or human rights problems, mostly because of the sugar, corn, and other grains involved. Sugar production is renowned for its impact on tropical habitats and wildlife, and for its human rights abuses. Corn and other grains are grown in the USA with a fair amount of pesticides that harm our health and that of the birds, the bees, and other creatures. So once again buying local is a great solution. Distilleries are cropping up across America and in every instance you’ll get a better taste with a lower impact on the environment. The best place to find local liquor? At your local liquor store (rather than at your big box store near the highway). That way you can ask questions about what you’re buying. Here’s a great idea: ask your local liquor store to do a tasting event of local distilleries. Everyone wins if more people learn what liquor they actually enjoy. And if you can't find local, remember that Bacardi rum uses sustainably sourced ingredients for a delightful summer mojito.

Buy bottles not cans

You know that whole thing about BPA being bad for you, especially in canned foods and your re-useable drinking mugs? The science is still out, though there are indications that BPA can harm reproductive organs. Nevertheless, there iis BPA in your beer can. On top of that health risk, only 40% of aluminum cans are from recycled materials. That means 60% are made from virgin bauxite, which requires significant mining operations that destroy tropical forests and other habitats.

So look for bottles, which frankly sound more satisfying when clinked against your friend’s.

Follow our easy, ethical drinking guide this summer: Green brands:

Beer - Local beer with the Independent Craft Label

Liquor - Bacardi (it’s all certified Bonsucro), Koval, Prairie Organic, and Casa Noble Organic Tequila

Red brands:

Beer - Bud, Coors, and Miller. They have a long way to go in terms of investing in your community, managing their water use, and other environmental impacts like carbon emissions from shipping beer (or any product) across long distances.

Liquor - Captain Morgan, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Smirnoff

Photo Attributions

By Jeremy Nicholson from Fuquay Varina, NC, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons