Pernod Ricard partners ecoSPIRITS has launched a pilot programme for a closed-loop distribution of spirits in Singapore to reduce bar waste.

These days, it takes a lot more than just restraint to drink responsibly. As it turns out, our consumption of spirits adds a lot of waste to the ecosystem.

In the spirit of sustainability, Pernod Ricard and ecoSPIRITS have just launched a pilot program for a closed-loop distribution of spirits in Singapore. Part of the Bar World of Tomorrow initiative launched by Pernod Ricard, Trash Collective and the Sustainable Restaurant Association in 2020, the programme looks to foster a more sustainable and responsible bar world. 

Kicking off in Singapore with local distribution managed by Drinks Fellas, it’s also the first time that a global brand portfolio is participating in such a program. They cited a study by the National Environment Agency of Singapore showing that less than 13 per cent of glass waste is recycled in the country and this partnership goes some way to address that issue.

Jean and Paul with the Pernod Ricard ecoTOTES
Paul Gabie, CEO of ecoSPIRITS (L) and Jean Touboul, Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Southeast Asia with ecoTOTES containing Pernod Ricard spirits.

The Solution

The solution is called ecoTOTE, a fully reusable 4.5-litre glass container that offers tracking and supply chain authentication among other smart features. Once emptied, the ecoTOTEs will be returned to a Singapore-based ecoPLANT for sanitisation and refilling, in line with the quality standards of the distilleries involved. This is especially significant, we’re told as it is extremely difficult to convince the distilleries to allow bottling to be done outside of their production line.

The ecoTOTEs (3.0S) are then used in specialised dispensers called SmartPour 2.0S. The latest iteration is designed to be placed in front-of-house environments and provides accurate, one-button spirit pours in measures of 30ml, 45ml and 60ml. It can even deliver a continuous 700ml or 750ml pour for refilling branded spirit bottles. It uses NFC as a security measure to reduce the likelihood of theft.

Jean Touboul with the Pernod Ricard ecoTOTES
Pernod Ricard’s Jean Touboul showing how easy it is to refill a bottle using the ecoTOTE.

Environmental Impact

Pernod Ricard and ecoSPIRITS estimate that the programme will eliminate more than 4,400kg of glass waste and save more than 3,400kg of carbon emissions in the first six months. That’s roughly the footprint for 80 flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. This works out to over 60 per cent of carbon emissions associated with packaging and distribution, and 95 per cent of packaging waste compared to the operational status quo.

On average, this saves 30g of carbon emissions per spirit pour or cocktail and emphasises how sustainable drinking choices can lead to small but important changes.

Furthermore, one tree will be planted for each cycle of an ecoTOTE used by our bar partners through the ecoSPIRITS Forest Program. It is estimated that an estimated 1,440 trees will be planted during the pilot programme, raising the total positive carbon emissions impact of the Singapore pilot programme by another 31,500kg yearly.

“We’re thrilled to start this journey with ecoSPIRITS to create more sustainable and responsible moments of conviviality. Today’s launch marks a key milestone in our commitment to circular making and distribution, which is at the heart of our 2030 Sustainability & Responsibility roadmap, Good Times from a Good Place,” shared Jean Touboul, Managing Director, Pernod Ricard Southeast Asia.

“With the highest density of the world’s best bars in Asia, and an increasing number of sustainability conscious drinkers, Singapore is the perfect location to launch our pilot program. Looking ahead, we hope more bars and restaurants will join us on this circular distribution journey across Asia and the world,” Touboul added.

“Singapore is home to a celebrated bar scene with a growing crop of sustainable concepts and eco-conscious consumers. It’s also where the ecoSPIRITS’ own journey began back in 2018. So, for us, there’s no better place than Singapore to launch our first pilot program with Pernod Ricard. Through this first-of-its kind partnership with a global brand portfolio, we hope to inspire more industry leaders and players to make the transition to the circular economy. We believe that this is an effective lever on our road to a circular economy and a significant step towards a low carbon revolution,” said Paul Gabie, CEO, ecoSPIRITS.

Current participants

Thirty bars have been targeted for this programme, but the big news is that three of Asia’s best bars in Singapore will be among the first to take part. MO BAR at Mandarin Oriental Singapore, Smoke & Mirrors and Republic Bar in The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore have joined the initiative to shore up their sustainability efforts. They will receive Pernod Ricard’s premium spirits – Absolut Vodka, Beefeater London Dry Gin and Havana Club – in the patent-pending ecoTOTE.

Pernod Ricard ecoSPIRITS cocktails
Cocktails made more sustainable (L to R) – Sunday Spritz by Republic Bar, Lacquer-Tini by Smoke & Mirrors, and Journey by MO Bar.

The three bars also designed three cocktails to commemorate the occasion.

Beefeater London Dry Gin, Dehydrated Citrus Tea, Spices

Journey is inspired by the travels made by the early traders in Asia. Citrus and spice were some of the first items to be traded, initiated during the Galleon trade. For this drink, leftover citrus is dehydrated, turning it into a tea by combining with discarded tea from the bar’s Hi Tea operations to add more flavour. This refreshing concoction is then married with Beefeater London Dry Gin and carbonated. Every sip of Journey is a chance to rethink your usual drinking choices and an opportunity to enjoy a classic G&T in a more sustainable way.

Absolut Vodka, Citrus Stock, Lillet Blanc, Chartreuse Jaune, London Essence Peach & Jasmine Soda

Sunday Spritz is a refreshing drink, perfect for a lazy afternoon during the weekend. Citrus fruits are usually used only for their peels and juice. After that, they often end up in bins as they’re an organic product with high acidity and not ideal for composting. To minimise waste, Republic Bar makes a stock of all-purpose substitute acid, which works wonderfully when mixed with Absolut Vodka in the Sunday Spritz.

Havana Club 3 Rum, Jasmine Verte, Acid, Sugar

A celebration of harmony, Lacquer-tini embodies the fourth principle of art – balance – with its perfect harmony of herbal and botanicals. Drawing muses from the lacquer-style painting of Nguyen Gia Tri’s The Landscape of Vietnam, Lacquer-tini scrutinises the complexity within creations, a tedious process that often goes unseen. Don’t be deceived by its clear appearance as well. Besides botanical and floral notes, this cocktail packs a punch with a dash of citric acid in place of regular juice, as it is shelf stable and reduces the wastage of citrus fruits.

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