Tequila Can be as Bad For the Environment as it is For Your Hangovers

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Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 8:05 AM
click to enlarge A shot to the environment?
  • A shot to the environment?

Tequila, as we all know, is the new vodka. And it's good for you if you like wake up in strange places, wipe your memory clean or get arrested.

But maybe you didn't know that it's also starting to wreak havoc on the environment where it's made, in the Mexican state of Jalisco, too.

A Los Angeles businessman who has visited the town of Tequila points out what a bummer this eco-hangover is becoming:

"When you go to Tequila, there's this beautiful fresh spring water coming through the lava rock. Then not that far away you have this waste that's being dumped. It has hot alcohol content and it's destroying everything in its path. If you looked at the creek, it was like running mud, and very pungent."

The waste, reports Fox News, is called vinaza. It's a byproduct of that tasty agave elixir that is produced at rate of 10 liters for every one liter of tequila that's churned out.

There are Mexican laws that prohibit distilleries -- many with ties to American investors -- from dumping the stuff.

But much of is dumped illegally anyway.

Fox calls it "tequila's dirty little secret."

José Hernández, a researcher with the University of Guadalajara:

"The vinazas are acidic, they have an oil that makes the soil impermeable, and are hot when they are dumped. The acid is not recommended for agriculture; it should be neutralized. The oil makes the soil hard so it is useless for farming."

What a bummer man.

Eco-consciousness is hot right now, though, and we wouldn't be surprised if some of the more aware premium producers banded together and pledge not to dump vinaza illegally. They could probably even come up with a sticker declaring that their processes are enviro-friendly.

We would drink to that.

[Fox News].

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