5 simple steps to a more sustainable bar

compost

When Australian Bartender visited Tales of the Cocktail in July, one of the great seminars we got to was Philip Duff’s SED talks — a series of short, informative talks: think TED talks for bartenders. And one of the highlights was the talk by Ian McLaren (Bacardi’s USA ambassador) and Chad Arnholdt of Tin Roof Drink Community, a consultancy that works with bars on implementing green solutions.

McLaren spoke about Bacardi’s commitment to sustainable operations — seen most notably in their elimination of plastic straws (like, seriously, do you need that straw anyway?) and perhaps less obviously in things like the construction of the state of the art — and 100% certified green — Laverstoke Distillery for Bombay Sapphire, and 42Below’s commitment to become the most sustainably produced brand in the world with a positive environmental impact.

Arnholdt then spoke about a few simple ways in which bartenders can make different choices and have a positive, greener effect — here’s a few of the things we came away with from his talk.

1. Think about your #dishlife — think about ways to reduce the number of times you run the glass washer each shift, and the savings add up over time. You might need to procure more uniform glassware, different racks for the washer, but if you can cram more into every load you can do great things by the environment (you’ll save money on your water bill, too).

2. Check your #rinsegame — yeah you need to rinse those glasses off, but try to get the time it’s rinsing for down to just one second, and avoid wasting water. Again, it adds up over the course of a year.

3. Look at everything with green eyes — you could follow Bacardi’s lead and eliminate straws, you could look at your menu design and price more sustainable drinks in a way which encourages them to be ordered over less sustainable drinks.

4. How can you reduce your energy consumption? Bars are the kind of places where fridges run 24 hours a day, there’s always lights on, POS to be powered. But perhaps you could pre-batch more drinks, saving space in the fridge; and it’s a pretty simple step to not leave the cool room door open for hours (and why would you do that anyway — were you born in a tent?).

5. Remember that it won’t be easy — Arnholdt talked about the fact that it will mean some sacrifice. Perhaps you won’t be able a particular citrus drink throughout the whole year because the limes are being flown in from the other side of the world. But there’s an upside, you get the chance to try something different. Same goes with customers — you’re going to have to educate them a little, just don’t do it in a douchey way. Ok?