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Refills can be purchased at Downton Brewery, Dark Revolution Brewery (Old Sarum Airfield), Healthy Living (Devizes) & Regent Tailoring in Salisbury.

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TRENDING

OUR ECO JOURNEY

"Be part of the solution, not part of the pollution."

100% GREEN ENERGY

In July 2021 we converted to green energy; this is the single biggest thing we have done to tackle climate change. We are now one of the few distilleries to be using green energy. Whilst this move is more expensive, it reduces our environmental impact, supports the governmental pledge and green recovery plans whilst reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

EXPLORER'S BOTTLE DESIGN

Our bottles are made by an Italian glass manufacturer in Milan. They are known for their quality glassware and their own sustainability goals. We use a stock design which is screen printed. Our printing is free of any heavy toxic metals, nor are dangerous solvents used within the process. The bottles now use 40% recycled glass.


At present our shrink wrap capsules use R-PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and this is recyclable. This can be crushed and shredded into small flakes which can then be reused to make new PET bottles or spun into polyester fibres. These will be phased out for the more environmentally friendly polylactic acid capsules which are compostable, aligning our goals in creating a better environment and greener world.


Our stopper uses a synthetic recyclable cork. A decision was made to use this type for a couple of reasons. The first is that cork trees are under environmental pressures with climate change and fungal attack. This species of opportunistic fungi (diplodia and phytophthora) has had a prominent role in the decline of cork trees across several regions. The second reason is that a synthetic cork will not taint the spirit within the bottle ensuring the quality of the product.

BOTTLE FOR LIFE

We have taken great pride in the design of our bottle, that reflects both the ‘Era of Discovery’ and Sir Walter Raleigh’s exploits. It is a shame that most bottles are thrown away into landfill once used. We therefore took the following steps to create our ‘Bottle for Life’ programme. Every bottle you reuse and upcycle will help us to reduce our impact on the environment.

BOTTLE FOR LIFE - REFILL BOTTLES

In 2019 we introduced our gin refill scheme partnering with Downton Brewery & The Healthy Life (Devizes). This partnership allows customers to bring their bottles to the Brewery and shop to refill them. Saving 29% (£32), it’s a win for you the customer and a win for the environment as your bottles are reused and not sent to landfill.


We will be working with customers to see where we can add refill points, therefore allowing you to keep your bottles with the ability to both refill them closer to home.

BOTTLE FOR LIFE - ECO PACKS

Refill packs present the single biggest opportunity to significantly reduce waste packaging and its overall carbon footprint. Research is from LCA Centre says that buying a refill instead of a complete product saves on the following footprints:

  • 70% CO2
  • 65% energy
  • 45% water.

We looked at our Explorer's bottle footprint and the refill footprint and for us, there is a 96.57% reduction in our footprint. That is massive!

So in June 2021 we launched our Explorer’s Gin refill pack. When you finish your bottle, top it up by purchasing our refill pack. Designed to fit through your letter box. Price wise, it will save you 22%.


In November 2022 we launched our Freepost return service. Meaning you can now send your refill packs and boxes back to the distillery for reuse or for us to recycle.


This is a win for your pocket and the environment, helping us further reduce our carbon footprint.


These eco-packs are all being reused / upcycled within the on-trade loop, meaning there is now zero waste!

Thank you to everyone who has supported us in this journey.


This is a huge step and win

Small Seperator, Downton Distillery, Wiltshire

SUSTAINABLE SPIRITS

"Your waste is our gold."

POMACE

Our new Chardonnay Vodka is created from the pomace of the wine making process. Pomace is the physical matter left over as the wines are pressed. We barrel the pomace over the winter and then distill the liquids during the winter months allowing the new vodka to rest before bottling.


The pomace is then composted before it is recycled back into the vineyard.

FORAGING

All our spirits contain botanicals that have been foraged locally. 


Explorer's Gin uses Red Cedar which is grown outside the distillery, alongside our lemon verbena and bay trees.

Great Bustard Gin uses wild rocket, lucerne, yarrow and red clover which are found on the Wiltshire Downs and Salisbury Plain.

We also have some pilot spirits under the wraps all using botanicals from the vineyard and local area.

OUR NEW GLASSWARE

Our Vodka bottles use 100% recycled glass and cork. Each bottle is unique in its design, it simply makes more economic and eco-sustainable sense to tolerate imperfections and reduce waste.

SPENT BOTANICALS

After each distillation, our botanicals are either put into compost for the vineyard or made into trial jams.  We hope to work alongside the distinguished 'Naked Jams' and produce a citrus marmalade using the citrus peels from our distillation process.

Small Seperator, Downton Distillery, Wiltshire

OUR PACKAGING USES RECYCLED MATERIALS

"Plastic air bladders take 1000 yeras to break down, our flexi hex sleeves which use recycled materials can compost in 6 weeks."

WHY NO PRESENTATION BOXES?

Our design is our bottle, it speaks for itself.  We have kept our packaging simple and have not created any display / presentation boxes. A recent survey showed that 94% of  these boxes are discarded once opened. That is a huge amount of energy and materials being used to create them for a one-time use, regardless of them being recycled.

PLASTIC FREE PACKAGING

Our bottles are shipped using Flexi Hex, which is an innovative, sustainable, eco-friendly protective product that allows for the safe and secure shipping of bottles. It was created with the environment and sustainability in mind, their honeycomb sleeves and boxes are biodegradable, recyclable, plastic free, made from sustainably sourced materials and manufactured carbon neutral.


Our distillery also uses our green recycled paper bags at our events.

SHIPPING ORDERS

As with all e-commerce our products require shipping. We ensure that we use companies who have received a better rating, made minimal use of gig economy labour and had strong policies in place to protect their workforce, including full recognition of trade unions and the right for workers to engage in collective bargaining. These companies in turn are also investing in their own sustainable programmes ensuring that they too are reducing their carbon front prints.


It may surprise you that Parcelforce and Royal Mail sit at the top of this table, whilst Amazon sits at the bottom.

ZERO WASTE TO LANDFILL

Any plastics that we receive from our suppliers and cardboard are recycled using ‘Waste Management Wiltshire’ who provide us with the ‘package recovery notes’ (PRNs), zero waste is sent to landfill.

 

All our wooden pallets are both reused and upcycled working with local businesses. We will continually work with our suppliers and are committed to acting and improving our footprint where possible.


Our IBCs that contain our NGS (neutral grain spirits) are either upcycled to hold other liquids or are passed across to other businesses for them to use, including a local Hydroponic farm.

Small Seperator, Downton Distillery, Wiltshire

REWILDING JUNIPER

80% of Junipers natural habitat has been destroyed across the country due to construction, farming practices and grazing.

We are changing this through your support.

REWILDING JUNIPER

Juniper is the core ingredient for all gin. Most distilleries have to import their Juniper from either Italy or Poland, as English Juniper is very hard to find. Part of this reason is that it has lost over 50% of its natural habitat within the UK and continues to at an alarming rate. It has lost over 80% of its favoured terroir which is chalkland.


Fortunately, with our location on the Wiltshire Downs it provides us the ideal terrain to successfully grow Juniper with the south facing slopes looking towards The New Forest. Our Juniper colony is being planted above the Vineyard, on an old area of farmland that was used as a dumping ground for tractor parts. The area has been cleared back and prepared for the planting. Our initial colony size will contain 35 saplings.


ITV News (Meridian) caught up with the work that we were doing in April 2022.

Small Seperator, Downton Distillery, Wiltshire

CONSERVATION

The Great Bustard is at risk of extinction. Classed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red 'List of Globally Threatened Species', it's estimated that there are fewer than 35,000 left in the wild. Your support is crucial.

GREAT BUSTARD

Our own population was once dispersed between the Wiltshire Downs, Salisbury Plain and Norfolk, but with hunting and the changing of farming practices, the last birds were recorded in 19th Century. The Great Bustard conservation group whose Patron is king Charles III was formed in 1998 by David Waters, whose aim was re-establishing a wild population. He initially hand reared the young chicks before releasing them onto Salisbury Plain, where today there is a small population of 100 birds. The Bustard is shown on the Wiltshire coat of arms and county flag showing its historical importance.


In 2023 Downton Distillery partnered with the conservation group, to raise both awareness and monies for the charity. A spirit was created that uses 4 botanicals found within the Great Bustard diet, which can be foraged on Salisbury plain. The botanicals selected are wild rocket, yarrow, lucerne and red clover which provide unique notes within the spirit.


For every bottle purchased, £10 is donated to the charity, so they can continue to work with farmers and to protect the habit of this wonderful bird. The charity also run tours where you can see the wonderful dancing displays during the breeding season.

Small Seperator, Downton Distillery, Wiltshire

BECOMING CARBON NEUTRAL

Sustainability is the responsibility of every individual every day. It is about changing our behaviour and mindset, thereby helping to control emissions. The latest energy-efficient technologies & renewable sources of power are only one part of the solution. A single step in the right direction.

 

TAKING STEPS

Downton Distillery recognises that within our supply chain there are items that provide a large carbon footprint. These items include our glass bottles, their production, decoration, haulage and the use of non-native botanicals. Our gas operated alembic still, and van also have their own carbon footprints.


We aim to address some of the above issues, using recycled glass and growing our own botanicals. But some items are impossible to remove unless we reduce our carbon footprint by creating a tax for ourselves. This can only be achieved through partnerships, without greenwashing with a mix of technology and planting.

WHAT IS GREEN WASHING?

This is when a company will either convey a false impression or provide misleading information about how a company's products are environmentally sound. Greenwashing is an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company's products are environmentally friendly or have a greater positive environmental impact than what is true.


Unfortunately, tree-planting is often used as a greenwashing channel, with programmes often unregulated. Many of us have had the opportunity at some point to click a link on our phone or computer and offset our carbon footprint by planting a few trees. Often, they’re in a remote spot on the other side of the world. A recent BBC article showed how off-track some projects have strayed. They found that along the Philippine coast of Iloilo, mangroves had been planted in the sandier coastal areas, rather than the muddy creeks which is their natural habitat, because it was easier to plant them there. About 88% had died.

CARBON CAPTURE THROUGH TREES

Mixed forests are a crucial line of defence against climate change. They act as carbon sinks, preserve biodiversity and produce sustainable timber instead of creating raw materials that pollute. Forestry / planting projects should have a holistic approach and resources assigned for their long-term success. It's not just about being a habitat for wildlife, nor simply about absorbing CO2. It's about the sustainable management of both these things, and ensuring humans thrive within that vital, natural environment. And that takes time and expert intervention, it comes with a price. 


We want to ensure we are investing in the right programmes to achieve a positive result. So we are working with Eco Tree a B Corp company based in Denmark planting a mix of trees across Europe with your help. 100 trees will capture 720 tons of CO2 within their life time.

This is a carbon removal project. As well as trees we have looked at new technologies, which use renewable energies to help capture CO2. This led us to Iceland and a partnership between Climeworks and Carbfix. The pioneering process of turning carbon dioxide into stone is safe as it reproduces a natural process.


In 2021 ‘Climeworks’ opened its Orca “direct air capture” project in Iceland. Orca collects about 4,000 tons of CO2 a year and stores it underground—a tiny fraction of the 33 billion tons of the gas emitted annually. Orca uses dozens of large fans to pull in air, which is passed through a collector where the CO2 binds with other molecules. The carbon dioxide collected from the air is then injected underground, where it mixes with water and eventually turn into rock as it reacts to form solid carbonate minerals within a basalt formation, locking away the carbon. 

Downton Distillery has joined Climeworks’ becoming one of their climate pioneers. This will help us reduce our footprint, to become carbon neutral downstream.

Small Seperator, Downton Distillery, Wiltshire

DID YOU KNOW?

'Count your footprints; carbon ones.'

SURPRISING FACTS

A carbon footprint is a measurement of how much carbon dioxide an individual or organisation releases in their activities. The more energy you use, the higher your carbon footprint, which is why it's important to try and reduce your energy use.


The below are some surprising facts that you might not know!

  • Glass is made by heating limestone, sand and soda ash to 1,500 °C. This heat comes from natural gas, and it accounts for between 75% and 85% of the carbon emissions from glass manufacturing.
  • Recycled glass, known as cullet when melted releases no CO2 hence a much lower carbon footprint. 
  • 1g of new glass creates 3g of CO2.
  • 1 x 700ml glass bottle (not recycled) creates 2.1 kgs of CO2.
  • Driving a petrol car (below 2L) for 50 miles will create 10 kgs of CO2.
  • A tree will capture between 10 kgs and 40 kgs of CO2 per year.
  • A tree will capture upto 7.2 tons within its life, should it mature.
  • Buying a refill pouch reduces the carbon footprint by 95%.
Small Seperator, Downton Distillery, Wiltshire

HOW TO IMPROVE

“It’s only one straw,” said 8 billion people.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

When we discuss sustainability, what steps can you take to help?

  1. Prevent – minimise the amount of waste created initially.
  2. Reuse / Upcycle – find another purpose for items.
  3. Recycle – send waste to be made into new items.
  4. Recover – transform waste into other resources.
  5. Dispose – get rid of waste responsibly.

HOW ETHICAL ARE YOUR SPIRITS?

The Good Shooping Guide, with their own independent research team has been analysing the Spirits sector, and the popular brands within this industry. Around one third of the brands they researched made it past their 'Ethical' Benchmark, with the industry benchmark being 65%.


Their research criteria is based on environmental and social factors relevant to the Spirits industry, so in the case of this industry, the Organic/ GM criteria, and treatment of brand employees (as well as the business practices of parent companies) were all considered when ranking and rating each one of these brands.

We are delighted to announce that Downton Distillery has become Accredited with The Good Shopping Guide. We've achieved a score of 92 and reached the top of its Spirits ranking table. Our brand page will be uploaded soon, so more to follow!


VIEW ETHICAL RATINGS TABLE

Small Seperator, Downton Distillery, Wiltshire

BE PART OF THE ECO JOURNEY

"Do something drastic – cut the plastic!

Waste isn’t waste until we waste it.”

Will.I.Am, musician

Small Seperator, Downton Distillery, Wiltshire
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