It can be easy to get so inundated with reports on alcohol-related harm to people around the globe, that another side of the Big Alcohol behemoth gets overlooked – the vast destruction caused to land, water and air by producing the alcohol products themselves.
Recently, Fox News published an expose on the environmental havoc being wrecked by tequila producers such as Brown-Forman, Fortune Brands, and as many as 146 others. Their “dirty little secret” is that for every liter of tequila they make, producers dump ten times that amount of liquid waste plus five to six kilograms of solid waste – often illegally.
This is no ordinary compostable farm waste: it is an acidic alcoholic leftover known as vinaza, which leaves the soil impermeable, seeps into the water supply, and “destroys everything in its path.” It has turned the once-picturesque town of Tequila into a hot, stinking mess.
As Big Alcohol works to ensure through its global marketing campaigns, massive tequila production (and the toxic consequences) isn’t going away any time soon. Believe it or not, tequila is now the number one export in Mexico, and solutions to its environmental destruction are in short supply. And there is nothing sexy about that.