Green With Envy

Elizabeth Fuhrman
Managing Editor

I recently attended the International Society of Beverage Technologists Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, where the keynote address was presented by Susan Neely, president of the American Beverage Association. What I found most motivating in her speech was ABA’s plan to play a leadership role and anticipate future challenges the industry might face concerning environmental issues.
The beverage industry does possess a respectable track record regarding packaging and its impact on the environment, but more needs to be done to take a leadership role on the issue, Neely said.
She pointed out that the industry has been criticized in regard to packaging and environmental stewardship for the lack of recycling collection capabilities in communities. Beverage companies may not hold the sole responsibility for improperly disposed packaging, but beverage products and companies are more visible because the brand is on the package. This gives beverage companies a disproportionate share of responsibility, the speaker explained.
Beverage companies control 100 percent of the package inception, Neely continued. The next step is to take responsibility for the total lifecycle of that package from the design of the package, through the collection and the end use. “If we can define what the appropriate level of responsibility is, we can avoid owning the entire problem,” Neely said.
The ABA also is partnering with the National Recycling Coalition, which is a coalition of government leaders responsible for programs at the local and state level, and working with them to advance recycling programs nationwide and not bottle bills, which the coalition agrees is flawed public policy, Neely said. The ABA instead is looking at legislation for recycling funding options and a comprehensive approach to taking leadership in moving beverage packaging all the way through its lifecycle.
The beverage industry could be the industry that everyone else looks to as the ideal, Neely said. Wouldn’t that make everyone green with envy?
Repeal revelry
Last month, the Brewers Association celebrated the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. The association and its members marked the April 7 anniversary with “Brew Year’s Eve” celebrations. On that date in 1933, newly elected President Roosevelt asked Congress to modify the Volstead Act to allow for legal consumption of beer of a specific strength. This year, craft breweries across the nation offered special-release beers and brewery tours, as well as craft beer and food pairings. That same day, cable network A&E premiered its documentary “The American Brew: The Rich and Surprising History of Beer in America.” The program featured an overview of Prohibition, history, impact on the country and why it was repealed. Grey Goose sets sail
Grey Goose vodka partnered with Celebrity Cruises to bring its spirits expertise to the sea. Until July, Trevor Burnett, Grey Goose brand ambassador, will travel on Celebrity cruise ships as its on-board spirits ambassador. He will host martini-mixing seminars, lead martini flights, train Celebrity Cruise staff on the art of cocktail mixing, and interact with guests on trips to Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Europe and Russia.  
Recycling for charity
The high value of aluminum is helping fund the construction of houses in Habitat for Humanity’s Cans for Habitat program. To date, more than 1,000 affliates have recycled nearly 500,000 pounds of aluminum that have generated $400,000 toward the construction of homes for underprivileged families. The program recognized its top participating affiliates and their recycling efforts, including Habitat for Humanity of Yuma, Ariz., which partnered with Arizona Western College to collect 91,000 pounds of aluminum. Ultra-premium price tag
For a price tag of $1 million, one very wealthy consumer can buy the premier bottle of Mendis coconut brandy and get a vacation. As part of the launch of ultra-premium coconut brandy, Mendis International Inc., New York City, presented the first bottle for sale for $1 million. In addition to the brandy, the purchaser also will receive a first-class flight to the Maldives to stay in a five-star resort. The company also is offering the second bottle of coconut brandy to the winner of an online draw.
Prêt a ‘pour’-er
Making martinis got a little easier thanks to Effen Vodka’s Martini Machine. The “machine” is a platform that holds one bottle of Effen vodka with a ready-to-dispense tap for pouring vodka for martinis. The company says a 1.75-liter bottle of Effen goes from freezer to the Martini Machine for effortless entertaining. The “machine” is available in a limited-edition package with a bottle of Effen vodka, tap, custom stand and a cocktail recipe book featuring 50 original drink recipes for a suggested retail price of $54.99.
Best in the world?
Goose Island’s India Pale Ale “may just be the best beer in the world,” according to Roger Protz, the only recipient of the British Guild of Beer’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In an article profiling beer culture and beers from around the world, Protz suggests the Chicago company’s IPA might hold the illustrious title. Protz is considered an expert in the beer world, having written 15 books on the subject, and is the editor of the “Good Beer Guide,” an annual publication produced in conjunction with the Campaign for Real Ale. The article appeared in London’s The Guardian newspaper, to which Protz regularly contributes.