White Claw

overall rating:

1.25

planets

Nikita Bowler
8/12/2021
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America's favorite hard seltzer White Claw has practically become a household name among millennials. It’s gotten an enormous amount of buzz on social media, and even underwent shortages due to its popularity. While White Claw likes to boast about its low carb, low sugar, and low-calorie count, it comes at the cost of a high carbon footprint and environmental impact. I have not come across a hard seltzer that is eco-friendly, in which case, I would recommend opting for hard kombucha or hard cider which are generally made only from natural ingredients. While I used to indulge in a White Claw here and there, the reality is that each drink comes at a cost, and unfortunately exacerbates the big agro and monoculture industries, and in my opinion, it’s not quite worth the buzz. 

What it's made of:

1

White Claws come in a variety of flavors, however, the ingredients are essentially the same in each one; purified carbonated water, alcohol, natural flavors, cane sugar, citric acid, natural fruit juice concentrate, and sodium citrate. While most people worry more about the hangover that comes with drinking alcohol, many don’t realize the environmental impact it has. The alcohol in White Claw comes from fermented malt grain crops which includes corn, a notoriously unsustainable crop. One study found that “corn production accounts for 4,300 premature deaths related to air pollution every year in the United States.” Moreover, unless you buy organic alcohol, which is a rare find, these crops are probably sprayed with pesticides, which leads to groundwater and soil contamination. Our next big bad boy in this ingredient list is cane sugar; another ingredient that is in practically all processed foods, yet is detrimental to the environment. Sugar cane is one of the world's most water-intensive crops according to WWF, which leads to pollution, industrial waste, and soil erosion. 

How it's made:

1.5

White Claw is made from a distillation and fermentation process. The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) reported that “the carbon footprint of spirits found that, on average, a 750-milliliter bottle of liquor produces 6.5 pounds of carbon dioxide.” The process of fermentation also leaves a high carbon footprint, not the mention packaging. White Claw cans are made of aluminum, one of the most successfully recyclable materials, according to the aluminum association, “nearly 75 percent of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today.” Most other hard seltzers are pretty similar ingredient-wise and material-wise, though some like to market their product in a way that makes it look more eco-friendly than it really is because in reality they are all filled with chemicals and sugar in one form or another. 

Who makes it:

1

 Anthony von Mandl is the billionaire behind the white claw. He started as a wine importer and managed to climb his way to the top of the alcohol market. His other famous enterprise is Mike's Hard Lemonade, a similar product to White Claw. Mandl is credited for taking the lead in expanding organic wine in British Columbia. However, White Claw, besides the aluminum cans, isn’t doing much else to promote sustainability. In order to improve, White Claw should take initiative to invest in sustainable practices as far as distillation and fermentation processes, and go organic to at least decrease the number of pesticides that leach into the soil from the crops they use.