Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Green Vodka?

So, we have all noticed the shift in advertising from the over-the-top opulent to the Gen Y "green" and natural. Green is the new bling. Overall, I see this transition as fairly benign, perhaps even beneficial. Overtime I find that I more and more identify myself as an evironmentalist insomuch as I am concerned about the continued health of our environment, our planet. But I do find myself somewhat bemused by the dazzling array of (presumably) "green" products that have appeared in the marketplace. What does it mean to be "green" or environmental or ecological? Have these terms lost some of their meaning and impact with their increasing ambious use?

My dear husband recently returned from costco with a find that he was rather proud of - "green" vodka. Vodka? Why, yes... now your booze can be "green" too. The brand is 360 Vodka with the byline of "the world's first eco luxury vodka." The packaging and production are touted as ecologically friendly. True, the labeling utilizes the familiar rough brown and pleasing dark green ink we have come to identify will all things environmentally friendly. Somehow, that is not what my husband noticed when he picked it up. Instead he was attracted by the fact the vodka is produced locally in Weston, Missouri at a division of McCormick's.

Beyond first look, 360 Vodka promotes several positive environmental impacts (according to

  • 85% recycled glass bottle (70% post-consumer waste)

  • 100% recycled paper used for labeling and marketing

  • Shipping materials made of 100% recycled material

  • Water based inks used for all printed material

  • "Close the Loop" program for returning/recycling bottle closures to the distillery

  • Locally grown grain reduces fossil fuels used for transport

  • The distillery has it's own water treatment plant

  • Carbon dioxide reclamation process that prevents the gas from escaping into the atmosphere

  • Sulfur dioxide emissions reduced 99.7% and polluting dust particles reduced 50% in entire distillation process in comparison with traditional distilling

Most interesting is the Close the Loop program to reuse the bottle stoppers. Included in the packaging now is a postage-paid envelope to return the stopper to the distillery.

So, how does it taste you ask? Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), I am not a connoisseur of premium vodkas. For more complete reviews, click here and for a video review click here. Maybe this Earth Day you will imbibe the 360 in a Greentini or in Planetary Punch. In any case, I hope you consider the efffects of green marketing in your consumer choices. More broadly (and more importantly) consider whether or not the eco-revival of sorts that we are experiencing is truly the "critical mass" shift in our collective western conciousness or the result of calculated, profit motivated marketing... marketing that may fail when the trend has run its course. Is green vodka here to stay?


  1. Green booze. Oy. I think that is giving me a headache and I haven't even drank any yet (drank? drunk?). Your thoughts on the marketing aspects are very interesting and insightful and I have to agree. I fear that green is "trendy" and that is people don't understand it as a true commitment, then we are just back where we started.

  2. Being a bit older than you, I remember "natural" being the big, crunchy buzzword of the early '70s. What did this mean? Only that the manufacturer had changed the packaging the include the word natural.

    I think we're a bit more consumer savvy now days, but not savvy enough. Until I find out that the word has been clearly defined, seeing the word "green" on a label won't be my motivation for buying.