Earth Day first was founded in 1970 by then Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. Demonstrations by 20 million Americans that day helped place an importance on a national agenda that resulted in the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December of that same year. That national agenda has helped educate consumers and businesses on ways that they can help support a cleaner, greener earth.

Although April 22 now is the official day for the celebration and fanfare, sustainable practices increasingly are sewn into day-to-day habits and operations. For those in the beverage market, more manufacturers are “seeing the light” on how to amplify their sustainable operations.

San Diego-based Intelligent Blends — a manufacturer of single-serve and bagged beverages, and parent company of Maud's Coffee & Tea — announced the completion of a massive solar installation, which now powers all of its house-brand operations.


Intelligent Blends Headquarters
(Image courtesy of Intelligent Blends)


To the headquarters, 700 hundred LG panels that each generate 405 watts of power were added, along with two sma 62 kilowatt inverters and two 50 kilowatt inverters. The resulting impact on the environment on an annual basis equates to taking 72 passenger vehicles off the road, 37,720 gallons of gasoline combusted or 5,500 tree saplings grown for 10 years, the company reports.

“We believe that good coffee starts at the source, which is why we make sure that every step we take in manufacturing Maud's products is thoughtful, ethical and environmentally responsible,” said Michael Ishayik, founder and chief executive officer of Intelligent Blends, in a statement. “The addition of solar-power to our production facility was a logical next step in ensuring that we continue our legacy of producing great products for our customers and partners the right way.”

The draw of solar technology also is reaching beverage manufacturers outside of the United States. West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) announced that its Brighton, Barbados-based facility is installing solar panels with a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.


West Indies Rum Distillery
(Photo by Maison Ferrand)


“We are constantly researching innovative opportunities to further improve sustainable and socially responsible business practices,” said Andrew Hassell, managing director of WIRD, in a statement. “We also have new and ambitious environmental goals and we are looking at innovative systems in order to stop the use of fossil fuels altogether and to reduce our total energy usage.”

The new solar plant is expected to generate an output of more than 400 kilowatts and is estimated to produce 747,000 kilowatt-hour in the first year of operation, which will provide for at least 20 percent of the electrical consumption of the distillery ― the equivalent of 100 local households, according to the company.

Beverage-makers also are looking to have deeper conversations about what it takes to operate with sustainability in mind.

On Earth Day, the Sonoma County Winegrowers and Sonoma County Vintners is co-hosting a virtual panel on Zoom where panelists will discuss why sustainability is important, the ins and outs of what it takes to run a sustainable vineyard and how Sonoma County is changing the global wine landscape.

Moderated by Wine Enthusiast’s Virginia Boone, the panel will feature the following speakers:

  • Taylor Serres, sixth-generation family famer, Serres Ranch
  • John Balletto, president and founder, Balletto Vineyards
  • Ames Morison, winemaker, Medlock Ames
  • Jasmine Hirsch, general manager and winemaker, Hirsch Vineyards

Interested members of the media and consumers can register for the free event by clicking here. To promote the event, individuals are encouraged to use the following hashtags: #SonomaWine #SustainableAgriculture.

Sonoma County has 99 percent of its local vineyards certified sustainable, making it one of the most sustainable wine regions in the world, the voice of Sonoma County’s 200 wineries and businesses noted.

Today, the leadership of the beverage community is showing that Earth Day is more than just a day — it’s a year-long state of mind and commitment.