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With as many as 40 billion spirits bottles used globally in the year 2020, it was bad year for emissions – 20 billion tons of pollutants were released through the use of glass bottles alone. Every single use glass bottle generates 550g of carbon emissions, an equivalent of 150g per cocktail. If we as an industry are hoping to clean up our act, we have to embrace and invest in new technology. Technology like ecoSPIRITS.

ecoSPIRITS has one aim: to end single use glass in the global spirits industry through a transition to their mind-blowing circular packaging technology. The cost savings and improved efficiency are just added benefits, alongside saving the planet. So how does it work? Well, we’ll tell you, but first we have to look back 200 years or so…

Inspired by history

Before industrialisation, glass bottles were made, filled, cleaned, and refilled time and time again. Given that there was a fair degree of effort put into making every glass bottle, they were precious, and not treated as a disposable item.

This is the inspiration behind ecoSPIRITS’ closed loop technology. Refillable packaging, that can be adopted by spirits brands, venues, and distribution partners to reduce the use of single use plastic, across the on-trade.

The technology

Let’s start with the basics – how does the system work? Well, there are three parts to it.

Venues are supplied with EcoTotes and SmartPours. Each EcoTote contains 4.5 litres of liquid (equivalent of 6 standard spirits bottles). These link up to the SmartPour, an electronic dispenser, which sits on the bar and dispenses measures of spirit.

The ecoTOTEs are durable, safe, and designed to withstand the typical rough handling in venues’ busy storage areas. But the true magic happens when the time comes to refill. Each reusable ecoTOTE is taken the ecoPLANT to be cleaned, refilled, and dispatched back to the venue. Each ecoPLANT can process up to 400 ecoTOTES per day, which eliminates the need for an equivalent 40,000 bottles per month. All of this is consolidated with effective and honest carbon offsetting, through the ecoFOREST programme (you can view a real-time aerial view of ecoSPIRITS planted forests here).

But that’s not the only innovative technology in use here. ecoSPIRITS has taken the opportunity to tackle more issues faced by the industry by including further tech solutions. The newest version of the ecoTOTE, the ecoTOTE 3.0, has an embedded tracking device that allows for real-time location tracking – improving the security of the supply chain for venues and distributors. That, combined with the fact that each ecoTOTE eliminates the need for, on average, 1,000 glass bottles over its lifespan – and it’s a very clever piece of kit indeed.

What it means for the on trade

So, what does all of this mean for operators in the on-trade? First of all, it nearly eliminates the carbon footprint associated with your spirits packaging and spirits procurement. So, for those in the industry looking to improve their sustainability creds (and that should be all of us) it’s a great solution that will make a substantial difference to your carbon footprint.

But beyond that, the ecoSPIRITS system offers substantial cost benefits, in that it reduces the delivery costs associated with premium spirits. Mangrove has already provided the investment for the local infrastructure, including hardware such as a London-based ecoPLANT, ecoTOTES and the SmartPour system.

To see the progress ecoSPIRITS is making in countries across the world, take a look at their news page. Or if it’s time to revolutionise your spirits distribution get in touch.