In this era of “Green is In” and corporations like Walmart ‘greenwashing’, you’d expect one of the biggest players in the tequila space to trumpet their environmental efforts on every bottle, package and press release.
But Patrón is actually quite understated when it comes to their landmark environmental efforts. In an industry where terms like ‘fair trade’ and ‘environmentally conscious’ aren’t thrown around a whole lot, Patrón is making some moves that could really change all that.
When you look at the numbers, the amount of waste generated from a single bottle of tequila is pretty staggering. For every liter of tequila made, there are 18 liters of liquid waste created. This doesn’t even begin to take into account all the bagasse (or fibrous waste) that comes from processing the agave plants. Currently there are a wide variety of disposal methods for this liquid waste from sewage to dispersion over land (which is injurious to the environment), but Patrón is taking a different approach with a new multi-million dollar water treatment facility in the Patrón distillery. Using reverse osmosis, Patrón is reclaiming 70% of their stillage waste into water that can be re-used in the manufacturing process.
In addition to the reverse osmosis water treatment plant, Patrón has built seven hectares of covered blacktop to compost the bagasse from the agave and remaining liquid waste into fertilizer. The capacity of what they can process is actually more than what Patrón produces and they’ve reached out to other tequila makers in Jalisco and offered to share that space to compost their waste.
Patrón is also lowering their footprint in their use of glass. Patrón has become the the largest consumer of recycled glass in Mexico. They’ve also made a commitment to only use 100% recycled papers in all their packaging and has made efforts to eliminate packing where they can.
The only real downside of Patrón’s environmental efforts is that they really haven’t been promoting them. Customers who look for more environmentally sensitive options probably aren’t aware of any of Patrón’s efforts and there isn’t a clear indication on the bottle of their green efforts.
Perhaps if Patrón championed these efforts more, their competition would be forced to follow suit. With explosive growth in the tequila category, there are a lot of companies gunning after Patrón and so if customers started to demand that their tequila be more green you’d see a huge change in the way in which tequila manufacturers approach this issue.