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Go Back   Rum Lovers @ the Ministry of Rum > Welcome to the Ministry of Rum Forums > Polls
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What do you think, confidentially of course?


View Poll Results: How important is the environmental consciousness of the distiller?
Environmental consciousness is important but only affects 10% of my decision to buy. 21 47.73%
Environmental consciousness is important but only affects 20% of my decision to buy. 4 9.09%
Environmental consciousness is important but only affects 30% of my decision to buy. 3 6.82%
Environmental consciousness is important and affects 40% of my decision to buy. 1 2.27%
Environmental consciousness is important and affects 50% of my decision to buy. 6 13.64%
Environmental consciousness is important and affects 60% of my decision to buy. 4 9.09%
Environmental consciousness is important and affects 70% of my decision to buy. 3 6.82%
Environmental consciousness is very important and affects 80% of my decision to buy. 2 4.55%
90% of my decision to buy is based on the environmental consciousness of the distiller. 0 0%
100% of my decision to buy is based on the environmental consciousness of the distiller. 0 0%
Voters: 44. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-12-2007, 09:44 PM   #1
Edward Hamilton
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Default Is it important to be environmentally conscious?

Environmental consciousness is more than looking green. A growing number of distillers are working to reduce the environmental impact of their products. The hot spent yeast waste of the distilling process has a high biological oxygen demand which when processed properly can provide energy for distillation.

Packaging also presents opportunities for distillers to reduce their waste in terms of the weight of their recyclable glass, the amount of recyclable cardboard for packaging and the amount of non-recyclable promotional material such as battery powered gizmos that are not environmentally friendly.

When you assess a rum product, how important is the environmentally consciousness of the producer?
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:17 PM   #2
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I had to pick 10%, because I really go for the rum. I have to say that I am *much* happier when I find out that a distillery does good things like this, but the rum influences my decision. If I find out that a distillery does good things then I might change my mind if I originally felt that the price was too high, but that's rare, too.

Though I certainly do care, it doesn't influence my purchase decision - the rum does.
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:26 PM   #3
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I have to agree with Scottes. I had not really thought about it before.
How would we know how environmentally conscious each distiller is?
If I knew a distiller was just trashing the environment affecting the local people in a bad way, it might change my mind.
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:27 PM   #4
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The fact that most consumers have never considered the environmental impact of their products is one of the reasons it has taken so long for most distillers to do much about the environment cost of delivering their products. There is a lot a distiller can do to limit the environmental impact of their business and most of these steps aren't hard to implement.

Is the sugar cane being grown in an environmentally sustainable manner?

How the distillery treats the spent yeast is another question of environmental consciousness. Some distillers collect the spent yeast after distillation, treat it with anaerobic bacteria to convert the yeast to methane gas and then use that gas to power the distillery's energy needs, reducing the biological oxygen demand on the environment.

Though spent yeast utilization isn't generally visible to consumers, other things like bottles and packaging give consumers a better glimpse of environmental concerns.

In Europe there is increasing pressure for bottlers to use less glass and cardboard to deliver alcoholic beverage products. And in the US, some of the biggest retailers of consumer goods are beginning to pressure suppliers to use more environmentally friendly packaging.

Just as most people didn't think about the amount of energy they were using, or wasting, twenty years ago, the world is changing and environmental consciousness will become a major force in all markets in the coming years. In the meantime, the question becomes, "Are you a leader, or a follower?"
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Old 10-16-2007, 07:13 PM   #5
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This post got me to thinking a bit over the long, rum-filled weekend. I thought about things like Haleakala Distillers (Maui Rums) and their concerns for the land and people of Maui, and their donations to Maui non-profits. And I came across a blurb stating that the Maui sugar-cane industry used to burn the bagasse and produced electricity for themselves but also for the entire island of Maui. Even now, one of the Maui sugar producers produces 18 megawatts from it's bagasse, uses 12 and sends 6 megawatts back into Maui's grid.

I also saw a segment on the History channel talking about Brazil's uses of ethanol from sugar cane used in automobiles all over the country.

This is definitely good stuff, and I'm glad to hear about it.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Hamilton View Post
There is a lot a distiller can do to limit the environmental impact of their business and most of these steps aren't hard to implement.
I hadn't heard anything about methane from spent yeast until your post. Any further info you could send would be appreciated.
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:41 PM   #7
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I'll try to find something on the internet so I can post a link. The process equipment isn't cheap so there is a capital investment, but considering the rising cost of fuel, the payback time is getting more attractive all the time.
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Old 10-19-2007, 05:54 PM   #8
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After seeing the enviro-poll, I've been thinking about the issue lately. Just this morning, I heard an interview with Bill Haney who recently released "The Price of Sugar," which is a documentary re workers in the Dominican Republic's sugar fields. Apparently, the Haitian immigrants who do the majority of the work live in abysmal conditions that many have likened to slavery.

This report was especially interesting to me after having read up on Brugal rums in anticipation of trying their Extra Viejo. One statement I came across repeatedly was the use of cheap labor helps Brugal keep their prices low. Almost every mention of this was in favor since it helped the consumer in the end. It was unsettling at the time and even more so now that I now more about the situation.

I will do more research before making any final conclusions, but I will say I definitely won't be buying any more DR rums until I know more about where each distiller's sugar comes from and how the employees working the fields are treated.

One last note: I have no expectations that these workers would be paid on a scale comparable to the US markets. However, I do think it is important that they be treated with decency.
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Old 10-19-2007, 08:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milicent View Post
Just this morning, I heard an interview with Bill Haney who recently released "The Price of Sugar," which is a documentary re workers in the Dominican Republic's sugar fields. Apparently, the Haitian immigrants who do the majority of the work live in abysmal conditions that many have likened to slavery.
Many makers of such documentaries are presenting an unbalanced point of view. I am not speaking of capitilist vs. worker. I am speaking about the lives of such people and how they balance their lives. Few outsiders are interested enough to have spent much time amongst poor field workers, slept in their homes, eaten their food, gone to the fields, celebrated, and mourned. Health care and diet certainly need attention. But it usually isn't slavery either.

Looking down from the top one might pity the conditions at the bottom of the abyss. Looking up from the bottom one might laugh at how all that money didn't make those above any happier.
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Old 10-19-2007, 08:41 PM   #10
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Only after I posted the above note did I notice that I was sipping on Vizcaya VXOP from the Dominican Republic. I'll continue buying this one.
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