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by Peter Barradine May 05, 2021 3 min read

The Debate About Organic Spirits 

Not only the food you consume can be organic but the drink you enjoy can be organic too. There are a few myths and misconceptions surrounding the organic spirit including the dreaded hangover. It is important to start looking towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices of farming, eating and our general lifestyle. So in this week’s blog we will help clear up any preconceived ideas you may have.

First up, what is an organic spirit? Organic UK states “When you opt for organic alcohol, you’re choosing a product that’s been certified to organic standards by law, meaning that you can be sure it has met strict requirements, covering everything from pesticide use and land management, to preservation and storage.” 

Improved organic farming methods can lead to higher costs when it comes to producing spirits. Obviously one of the main factors when growing crops that are organic is often they produce lower yields of fruit and grain. This will therefore increase the cost and subsequently reflect in the price of the spirit. The sourcing of other organic ingredients that are necessary for the production of gin will also lead to a further increase in the cost of the final product. 

As we have seen with previous blog posts many of the producers we work with are very conscious of the impact they have on the environment. Most of them are choosing to support local suppliers for their fruit and where possible spices, Wildjac even use locally sourced hops in their citrus vodka. Sustainability also can continue through the theme of the bottle. Hemming’s Gin spent hours of research in order to find the perfect reusable vessel and found it in the form of an insulated bottle. This can be used multiple times over including topping up with delicious gin from their refill packs.

It has been said that drinking organic beverages prevents you from getting a hangover. I for one can promise you that I can manage to get a hangover from anything and it seems so can you! The reason that hangovers occur according to Drinkaware is “...the effect of ethanol – the alcohol in your drinks. It's a toxic chemical that works in the body as a diuretic, which means it makes you pee more and you can become dehydrated as a result.”

The ideology behind not getting a day ruining hangover may have come from organic wine and the sulfites. Sulfites are usually added to wine to act as a preservative, Bon Appétit states that “there are two types of sulfites, also known as sulfur dioxide: natural and added. Natural sulfites are just that, totally natural compounds produced during fermentation. ... Added sulfites preserve freshness and protect wine from oxidation, and unwanted bacteria and yeasts.” From this statement you can see that they are also naturally occurring and can be found on the skin of fruits and vegetables. A small percentage of people have an allergy to sulfites which can cause an allergic reaction..

During the distillation and brewing process, congeners are also produced as well as ethanol. These can add different tastes and flavours to a beverage but depending on the type of spirit or drink you have can also add to your hangover. Mayo Clinic states that “Congeners are found in larger amounts in dark liquors, such as brandy, bourbon, darker beer and red wine, than they are in clear liquors, such as vodka, gin and lighter beers. One particular congener - methanol - breaks down into the toxins formaldehyde and formic acid, which can worsen a hangover.” Therefore sticking to lighter colour drinks like gin, vodka, white wine and pale beers could possibly lessen the hangover - don’t hold us to it though!

From the research above and from past experiences I can tell you that drinking organic spirits doesn’t make much difference when it comes to reducing a hangover. On the other hand being more conscious about the things we drink and consume can have a positive effect on the world around us. So opting for organic spirits like British Polo’s Organic Gin and Rum will help to reduce the impact you have on the environment as well as supporting local independent producers.

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