At Great Lakes Distillery we make every effort to continually reduce the impact we make on the environment.  We believe everyone (and every business) should be aware of waste and its impact on their surroundings and work to reduce it -it’s just common sense.

Our innovative “Bottle Conservation Program” benefits consumers, wholesale customers, the environment, and our distillery. In late 2010 our distillery received permission from the federal government to begin a bottle reuse program. Every bottle that is reused eliminates the need to manufacture another. By eliminating the manufacture of one bottle we save enough energy to power a 100 watt CFL bulb for 5 hours!

Bottles may be returned to any of our liquor store partners (see table at left). Some bars will also accept them. Some places may even offer a discount for their return. Bottles can also be returned to the distillery tasting room.

Recycle and Reuse- We recycle by reusing refuse whenever possible, as an example our case dividers are made by reusing the cardboard that our bottles come packed in from the glass factory.

A few additional things we’ve done to reduce our environmental impact include:

Location- Our distillery is partially under ground. This significantly minimizes energy used for heating our facility in the long Wisconsin winters.

Organic waste produced in the distillation process (spent grains and fruit) are re-purposed at Yuppie Hill Farm.

We also diligently collect recyclables for weekly pickup by an environmental services company. We estimate we have already reduced our amount of landfill refuse by approximately 60% compared to previous years.

Recycle Energy- We use hot water produced during the distillation process for cleaning our equipment before and after batches are produced. We are working on a system of converting this wasted heat to help heat our distillery in cool weather.

Produce Local- We buy local ingredients whenever possible. The wheat used in our vodka is grown right here in Wisconsin as is the fruit used in our brandies. For ingredients that aren’t grown in our climate, we seek local suppliers even if costs are a bit higher.

Sell Local- The vast majority of our business is within 100 miles of our production facility. We focus on and primarily market within this 100 mile radius. The result is that our products are transported fewer miles than the vast majority of competitive products. Most companies in the US import alcohol from overseas, then ship it all over the US from their distribution point, a very inefficient and wasteful process.

These are just some of the steps we’ve made with regard to being conscientious of our impact on the environment. We pledge that we will constantly seek new ways of reducing our impact on an ongoing basis.


Participating Bars
Cafe Centraal
Cafe Hollander Downer Ave
Cafe Lulu
Club Anything
The Hamilton
Harvey’s Central Grille
Iron Horse- Branded
Juniper 61
La Merenda
Rails Inn
River West Public House
TJ Ryans
Participating Retailers
Consumer Beverage
Discount Liquor- All locations
Otto’s- All locations