What is sustainability? It’s a word that has been steadily gaining momentum over the last decade, and now dominates everything from politics and news headlines, to big-budget marketing campaigns. Being ‘sustainable’ is a claim that seems to roll off the tongue a little too easily perhaps, for a concept that is far from easily achieved, or even explained. We all know that sustainability is important, admirable, even essential in today’s world. But WHAT is it, WHY should we care, and what can we actually DO about it?
The dictionary definition of sustainability is the ‘avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance’. You only have to tune in to any David Attenborough documentary of the last few years to understand the vital importance of this. Seemingly simple, yes? Make better choices, create less waste, save the planet. What could be difficult about that?
It can seem like a monumental task to practice sustainability to a point where there is a visible positive impact on our natural environment, but at Fernie Distillers we believe that if individuals and small businesses all take small steps towards sustainable practices, all of our little efforts will add up to a real and invaluable result. One of the biggest outcomes of the last decade’s growing awareness of environment issues is a worldwide effort to cut back on single-use plastic, so we provide recycled paper bags rather than plastic bags for all products purchased in our shop. It is important to us that as well as reducing our usage of plastic, we are also joining the conversation in an active way by making this small change. The more that plastic use is reduced, the more normalised it will become, and normalisation of sustainable practices so that they are not seen as a hippy fad or simply too much effort is absolutely essential to the sustainability of, er…, sustainability!
As well as being conscious of our plastic consumption, we use produce from Fernie and the surrounding area wherever possible. Sourcing our ingredients locally reduces the carbon footprint of extensive transportation, but also we love the fact that by keeping things close we are supporting local businesses in the Kootenays like ourselves, and helping to sustain the delicate economic structure of our wild, remote and rural region.
In a team collaboration that considers the whole process from grain to cocktail glass, we plan which fruits we will use for distilling, and how their by-products can be used elsewhere in the process to ensure that waste is minimised as much as possible. Once we get our hands on the most delicious local fruit and aromatics for flavouring our spirits, we use the leftover fruit flesh from the distilling process in our cocktail recipes as ingredients and garnishes, to ensure that we extract every last drop of goodness out of the wonderful produce.
When enough people chip away at a monumental problem, it becomes a shared concern, it becomes understood, and eventually it becomes manageable. We welcome you to pop in for a drink and a browse and share your own thoughts about sustainability with us. Let’s take the conversation forward together!