What is a B Corp drinks brand and why should you care?
With a total of around 4,000 certified B Corporations, or B Corps, in 75 countries across the globe, the movement is growing. And the drinks industry holds a place as one of the 150 sectors involved in B Corp. Drinks manufacturers categorised as a B Corp are regarded to prioritise their environmental and social impact, having built this commitment into their legal structure.
A 2020 survey by GlobeScan found that 73% of global consumers want to largely reduce their environmental impact when shopping, therefore knowing B Corp drinks brands is becoming important to retailers.
Richard Chamberlain, managing director of The Craft Drink Co, says in his latest column for Drinks Retailing: “Consumers are looking to make more considered purchasing decisions. Businesses - including drinks producers and retailers - will need to show better credentials for helping to save the environment.”
To achieve the B Corp status, companies undergo verification by B Lab - a non-profit network with the aim of revolutionising the world of business for the better - in accordance with criteria that covers standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. Once a business passes this evaluation by exceeding the benchmark score of 80, and legally formalises the company’s alignment with the B Corp movement’s values, it will become a certified B Corporation.
THE LATEST DRINKS INDUSTRY B CORPS
As more drinks manufacturers become B Corps, and more consumers become environmentally conscious, now is the time for retailers to seek out B Corps in order to cater to changing customer demands. Kickstarting sustainable drinks development in 2022, a handful of brands have announced their B Corp certification within the past month, providing options for retailers looking to expand their range.
The House of Botanicals
In January 2022, bartender-owned spirits business, The House of Botanicals, announced its B Corp status, making it the fourth spirit brand in the UK to achieve this certification. Scoring 102.1 on evaluation, the producer - which is home to The House of Botanicals Gin, Dr. Adam’s Cocktail Bitters and Pietro Nicola Aperitivi & Digestivo – meets the rigorous social and environmental standards laid out by B Lab.
Chris Turner, executive director of B Lab UK, says: “We are pleased to have B Corps of all shapes and sizes as part of our community – from startups to multinationals and across many different industries. Business is a powerful force and B Corps demonstrate that you can do good in any sector.”
Speaking of businesses of many shapes and sizes, in January, Kentucky-based whiskey distillery, Maker’s Mark, became the largest distillery in the world to become a B Corp. The producer is also the first in Kentucky’s Bourbon County to achieve the distinction. Now, Maker’s Mark joins fellow Beam Suntory-owned brand Sipsmith in its B Corp status.
Canned English sparkling wine pioneer The Uncommon recently announced its accreditation as a B Corp, scoring 107.1 on evaluation. As the first wine company in the UK to become a B Corp, The Uncommon now plans to become one of the most sustainable wine brands in Europe, with two new products set to be launched in 2022.
Henry Connell, co-founder of The Uncommon, says that the brand hopes to “pave the way for others in the industry to break tradition for the better”. He adds: “Our ultimate ambition is to be the most sustainable wine brand in Europe, and we wholeheartedly believe that our format and small footprint has a part to play in the future of the wine industry.”
Describing itself as a “planet positive spirits brand”, Avallen achieved B Corp status at the beginning of 2022. After launching in 2019, the brand has developed eco-friendly packaging consisting of recycled glass and apple pulp labels, alongside its impact-led production methods that aim to minimise environmental damage and biodiversity loss.
Avallen’s co-founder Tim Etherington-Judge, praised the B Corp movement, saying: “B Corps not only imagine a better way of doing business, but are actually showcasing to the world that positive impact and business go hand in hand.”
Premium non-alcoholic drinks manufacturer, Punchy Drinks, has joined the growing number of B Corps, putting its low-sugar vegan beverages at the forefront of ethical business. All Punchy Drinks packaging is plastic-free, with a selection of adventurous flavours available to provide a “natural” yet “bold” alcohol alternative. After providing evidence of socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing practices, Punchy Drinks scored 90.1 on evaluation.
Zero-waste business and non-alcoholic drinks brand Pentire announced recently that it has become a B Corp, as it continues to create vegan, plant-based beverages for those in search of an alternative to alcohol. As part of its commitment to preserving the natural environment, Pentire donates to the Blue Marine Foundation, and sources the majority of its ingredients from organic farmers local to the Pentire Headland in North Cornwall.
After becoming the UK’s first whisky distillery to be certified net-zero for its own operations in July 2021, Nc’nean has recently achieved B Corp certification, making it one of around 600 businesses in the UK to do so.
Achieving a score of 135.6, the brand received major points for its commitment to sustainable manufacturing methods. Nc’nean founder, Annabel Thomas, says that the company is “proud” to reach B Corp status, as the brand’s “small team of passionate, skilled and adventurous people” continues to pioneer sustainable production.