Discarded doesn’t want sustainability to be seen as a sacrifice

William Grant & Sons launched its no-waste spirits brand Discarded in 2018, with a sweet vermouth infused with cascara, the coffee plant berry that is left over from coffee production.

After seeing the innovation possible with a by-product that was previously either sent to landfill or recycled as fertiliser, the brand was inspired to take what others have wasted and turn it into Discarded’s distinguishing feature.

"We see ourselves as an activist brand. We want to be story-doers, not just storytellers".

Sasha Filimonov, Discarded brand manager at William Grant & Sons, told Campaign last week. She was speaking at the launch of Discarded’s London Cocktail Week pop-up, “The world’s most rubbish bar”.

The experience, open for three nights from 15 October, allowed visitors an in-depth look at the story behind the spirits. Three separate rooms were used to embody the unique make-up of Discarded’s products: Sweet Cascara Vermouth, Grape Skin Vodka and Banana Peel Rum. The Banana Peel room featured young banana trees so that the scent of the fruit filled the air while tropical music accompanied a guided cocktail tasting.

Commenting on the activation, Filimonov added:

"There is so much depth of information and detail when it comes to the Discarded brand and to be able to show it, truly bring it to life and stick our flag in the sand, because we are the pioneers of the sustainable spirits movement and this is a great opportunity to show what that looks like".

As “pioneers of the sustainable spirits movement”, Discarded wanted to communicate its brand’s core values of ending “disposability”.

This inspired the brand to work with artist Sally Hogarth on a freestanding sculpture, built from bio resin and waste collected from UK beaches.

Each day, two bars went head to head repurposing waste from local businesses to craft sustainable cocktails. It was also important that everything in the Shoreditch venue, The Ditch, was sourced second-hand, hired locally and could be recycled or reused. Space worked alongside Red Consultancy to deliver the project.

Looking to the future, Discarded aims to create an open-source educational blueprint for a “circular cocktail economy” and make people think differently about how drinks are created.

"We feel that often when people talk about sustainability, they think that means sacrifice or losing something or having a lesser product, and we don't believe in that. We believe we can offer something that is sustainable and incredibly delicious, memorable, premium and special, because there was so much love and care and imagination and innovation that it took to get to this point. So our vision is to show that sustainability isn't a sacrifice it can mean luxury and deliciousness".
Sasha Filimonov, Discarded Brand Manager, William Grant & Sons

The above article appeared in Campaign Magazine.

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