Could A Negative Carbon Footprint Vodka Start A New Beverage Trend?

In the face of a climate crisis that poses a grave threat to just about every aspect of the food industry, from avocado farming and wine production to the taste of coffee and the safety of the food supply, one boozy business is attempting to clean up the embattled atmosphere one martini at a time.

Enter Air Vodka, a forward-thinking, Brooklyn-based liquor brand that aims to reinvent the wheel when it comes to one of the world's most age-old spirits: vodka. Unlike typical vodkas, which are made with a starchy base ingredient like potatoes or wheat, Air Vodka is made with just two ingredients: water and carbon dioxide (via CNBC).

During the creation of the innovative vodka, CO2 (an environmentally harmful greenhouse gas) is pulled from the atmosphere and transformed into pure ethanol, the primary ingredient in vodka. For each bottle of Air Vodka produced, about 1 pound of carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere, making Air the world's first carbon-negative spirit.

According to Wine Enthusiast, the groundbreaking vodka has a "faintly floral aroma and a surprisingly weighty feel," with a neutral flavor palate punctuated by "subtle hints of vanilla and graphite." One reviewer for GQ raved that Air Vodka had the exact taste qualities liquor enthusiasts expect from a high-end vodka: "clean and crisp like a shard of light."

Air Vodka is the world's first carbon-negative alcohol brand

The Air Company's innovative, carbon-eliminating technology has drawn praise and awards from the likes of NASA and The United Nations (via Forbes). Shortly after launching in the summer of 2020, Air Vodka was named one of Time Magazine's best inventions of the year, and earlier that year the product was named a finalist for the prestigious $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, which is awarded to companies focussed on converting CO2 emissions into useful new products.

The award-winning vodka has also garnered the attention of environmentally conscious investors. Last month, the company announced that it had raised a $30 million round of funding from big-name investors including Toyota, JetBlue, and Parley for the Oceans.

Air Company plans to use its largest round of funding yet to expand its distilling operation and introduce new carbon-negative products — like hand sanitizer and fragrance — to carbon-conscious consumers. The vodka brand is one of the leading names in the booming carbon-neutral food and beverage industry, which includes everything from the world's first carbon-neutral cheese to carbon-neutral frozen meals.

For each bottle of vodka made, one pound of CO2 is removed from the air

"Our goal is to integrate our carbon utilization technology into every applicable sector to help combat the climate catastrophe," said Gregory Constantine, CEO and co-founder of Air Company, in a press release. "We'll achieve this mission by providing people with a highly attractive array of products made from captured carbon and working with businesses to integrate our technology into their industries, maximizing the amount of CO2 we can utilize each year."

"This new growth capital will provide us with the resources to continue to bring our vision to life, ensuring we consistently deliver the highest quality products to meet our consumer demands while continually working with world-class talent on technology optimization on a pathway toward true scale," Constantine added.

To taste the world's first carbon-negative spirit — which the distiller recommends serving on the rocks or in a classic martini (or rather, "Airtini") — vodka enthusiasts should be prepared to pay a premium. A 750-milliliter bottle of the Air Vodka currently retails for $79.99. While pricey, each bottle does come with a priceless bonus: the pride of cleaning up the environment, one happy hour at a time. Now, Air Vodka is proving that innovations can be made in the food industry to hep fight the climate crisis.