Britain's drinkers have an unprecedented choice of ethically and environmentally produced beers, wines and spirits this Christmas thanks to a boom in the ethical drinks sector says Ethical Consumer magazine.

With over 350 organic and 250 Fairtrade wines now retailing in the UK, wine drinkers can reduce the environmental and ethical footprint of their wine. And thanks to climate change English sparkling wines are now rivalling those produced in the Champagne region of France resulting in that wine drinkers can further reduce their carbon footprint by buying English sparkling wine.

The thriving micro-brewery industry now has over 700 breweries across the UK of which 90 are organic. This means that real-ale drinkers can reduce the carbon footprint of their pint as the carbon emissions of locally produced beer are 40% of those compared with shop bought bottled beer or foreign beer sold in a pub.

Whisky and spirit drinkers too are able to benefit from an increase in the environmental awareness of producers with over 20 different brands of organic brandy, gin, rum, vodka and whisky with six brands of Fairtrade rum, vodka and goji now available.

Rob Harrison from Ethical Consumer and co-author of the buyers' guide said:

“The drinks sector has not been immune from the environmental revolution that has led to sweeping changes in other food and drink sectors. In an industry which has been dominated by a handful of giant multi-national corporations, consumers now have a genuine environmental and ethical alternative.”

In its buyers' guide Ethical Consumer magazine named the following brands as Best Buys:

Beer: All of the UK's micro-breweries were judged to be a Best Buy.

Spirits: Guy Pinard brandy, Juniper Green Organic gin, Matraga Organic Fairtrade rum Papagayo Organic Fairtrade Spiced and Papagayo Organic rum, FAIR and UK5 Organic vodka, Highland Harvest whisky.

Wine: Broughton Pastures, Camel Valley, Limney, Meinklang, Perlage, Ridgeway sparkling wines, Stellar Winery, Thandi, Three Choirs.



1 20% of wine sold in the UK is supermarket own-brand and Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and ASDA came bottom in Ethical Consumer's wine survey.

4 Launched in 1989 Ethical Consumer is the UK's leading ethical and environmental magazine. In each issue Ethical Consumer examines the ethical and environmental record of the companies behind everyday products and services from bread to banks. For more information visit the Ethical Consumer website: www.ethicalconsumer.org