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Distillery Delivers Spirits In A More Sustainable Way To The Kitchen Restaurant Group

DENVER (CBS4) – Restaurants and distillers are partnering to lower their footprint on the environment with a more sustainable way to deliver and use vodka bottles using a method that celebrates the tradition of local dairy farms.

"What we're doing here is applying the milk delivery model to the vodka distribution business," said Lance Hanson, the founder of Jack Rabbit Hill Farm in Hotchkiss. "It's very simple, has immediate impact."

Mell Zero Waste Vodka
Mell Zero Waste Vodka (credit: CBS)

Hanson supplies his Mell Zero Waste Vodka to The Kitchen in Denver and its Boulder location as well. A few weeks ago he started to collect their empty bottles, offering to clean and then reuse each container and filling it up with more of his vodka. The idea is similar to other services he provides, including wine in kegs and boxes. He estimates this method has saved 1,500 bottles from entering the waste stream in less than four weeks.

"So the real answer here is reusing a bottle," he said. "We are going to see benefit from this tomorrow, the next day, the next week."

Hanson worries about the items recycled that do not ultimately become new items and instead end up in the landfill. He also points out that in some cases recycling uses up just as much energy as creating a bottle from raw materials.

Lance Hanson
Lance Hanson (credit: CBS)

"We are old school, new world," he said. "The world has changed but in a lot of cases, going back to the way things used to be, that's going to deliver the maximum benefit."

Mell Zero Waste Vodka
Mell Zero Waste Vodka (credit: CBS)

The Kitchen hopes to expand this practice to other restaurants under their Kitchen Next Door concept across the state. Hanson also hopes his fellow distillers as well as other restaurants will pick up on this concept and increase the industry's ability to find more sustainable methods for business.

"We are in a position here to really show the rest of the country new standards," he said.


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