The alcohol and beverage industry is worth somewhere in the area of $1.6 trillion dollars. People love to drink. With all that potential for revenue, it’s no surprise that companies have to do whatever it takes to get ahead and beat their competitors. One of the problems we face in a capitalist society is that bigger profits ultimately means lowering your costs. When you are producing billions of bottles of beer, soda, or alcohol, every label, every cap, and every bottle adds up, so companies are constantly looking at ways to lower their costs, which usually means using single use plastics as a way to distribute their product. It’s a harsh reality to face, which makes it even harder when it comes to building a sustainable beverage company.
Fortunately, there are companies out there that prioritize both sustainability and profitability. One of these companies is the Finnish based vodka company, Koskenkorva. Green.Org recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mikael Karttunen, an award winning bartender and brand ambassador at Koskenkorva, to learn more about how Koskenkorva Vodka has made it a priority to be a sustainable company while still producing a top quality drink.
Building A Sustainable Beverage Company
Koskenkorva is the most common clear spirit drink in Finland, produced by Altia in the Koskenkorva distillery in Ilmajoki and bottled in Rajamäki, Nurmijärvi. Koskenkorva is known for it’s local roots. Pasi, Matti, Jaakko and Maija are among the almost 1500 farmers contributing to the making of Koskenkorva vodka. In the village of Koskenkorva, the craft of cultivating barley has been passed on from generation to generation. Koskenkorva encourages the local farmers to maximize the efficiency of farming, to use nutrients sensibly and to monitor the barley during the growth season to ensure its viability.
Koskenkorva also helps farmers in areas such as performing plot-specific nutrient balance calculations. With these calculations, it is possible to determine the amount of nutrients introduced to the fields by fertilizers and the amount of nutrients removed during the harvest. This not only produces the highest quality vodka, it also is the most efficient and sustainable way to distribute resources to create the product. This equates directly to Koskenkorva‘s goal of building a sustainable beverage company.
And why does that matter?
Farmers can then utilize this information in their nutrient calculations. The larger the field’s crop yield, the more efficiently the plants tie up nutrients in the harvested crop. Otherwise, if the nutrients are left in the soil, they will be washed off into waterways causing eutrophication. Thus, a high yield of good quality barley and environmentally friendly farming go hand in hand.