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Getting Drunk, the Ethical Way!

11/3/2010 2:59:30 PM

Tags: alcohol, ethics, sustainability, animal rights, workers’ rights, environment, Ethical Consumer, Karen Garcia


Have you ever been sipping on a glass of merlot, thinking to yourself with vague anxiety, “God, I wonder if this wine was filtered with tropical fish bladders?” Sure you have. Now, thanks to Ethical Consumer, you can find out whether or not your favorite winery uses isinglass—a fining agent derived from fish swim bladders used to remove organic compounds in wine—along with various other ethical lapses committed by dozens of beer, wine, and spirit brands.

The survey depends on a rigorous rating system of 19 categories complete with charts so packed with information they kind of make your head spin: environmental impact, workers’ rights, animal testing, and irresponsible marketing are just a few of the factors taken into account to produce the given brand's overall Ethiscore.

Not surprisingly, the better-known brands tended to receive a lower Ethiscore than the more obscure ones: Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, and ASDA (Wal-mart’s brand of wine…gross) all scored at the bottom of their respective categories. Steller wine, Tennents beer, and Highland Harvest whiskey boasted the top rankings.

While this latest report requires a subscription to access, Ethical Consumer’s website offers free buyers’ guides on tons of brands of alcohol to ease your mind this holiday season and help you get your extended family liquored up while simultaneously saving the whales. Or something.  

Source: Ethical Consumer (subscription required)  

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Image by Tommy Gooch, licensed under Creative Commons. 

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Post a comment below.


Scott Nass, MD
11/28/2010 4:52:06 PM
Actually, none of the alcohol buyers guides at the link noted above are free. All require individual purchase at £3 or annual subscription. I suppose that means they aren't terribly concerned just how ethical our purchases are.

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