OK, I admit it: I like vodka. I’m also on a budget. In fact, I live my life on a budget. Nothing too extreme (though times are a little tougher than usual), but I do pay attention to what I spend. And while I like nice things, I realize that top-shelf items are not normally in my budget. Life is full of compromises.
For example, I like Ketel One. It’s smooth. But Smirnoff is a better fit for the budget, it’s totally drinkable, and the liquor store down at the Smith’s has it for a good price even when it’s not on sale.
But while in for a bottle recently I noticed some very “green” marketing on a boutique vodka I’ve eyed from time to time but never bought, and caved. The vodka is “360” and it bills itself as the “Eco Luxury Vodka.”
The “packaging,” such as it is, is clean and simple; tasteful. The clear, round bottle sports no fancy sculpting, save for the “360” embossed on the front, and is made from 85% recycled glass, according to the label. The label is also simple: one color printing with green ink (of course) printed on what appears to be FSC certified recycled paper. They even tout the resources supposedly saved by using this particular type of label:
- 82,766 gallons of water
- 139 million BTU’s of energy
- 9,255 pounds of solid waste
- 193 fully-grown trees
- 18,052 pounds of greenhouse gasses
Recycled bottle, eco-friendly labeling, yada yada yada…whatever. Anyone can do that. The cool thing about the packaging is their use of the old-fashioned wire swingtop bottle cap and a hangtag promoting their “Close the Loop Program.” Simply remove the swingtop, put it in the pre-paid envelope provided, and then recycle the bottle. 360 will then donate $1 to a “recognized environmental cause” of their choice. That’s pretty cool. Now, who knows how many people will really go through the trouble of doing that, but I think if you’re swayed enough by the environmental bent to buy this vodka, you very well might go the extra mile. (As for me, I’m more likely to keep the bottle and the swingtop and re-use it for bottling homebrewed beer.)
OK, truth be told, even that wasn’t enough to hook me in to buying a $22, 750 ml bottle of vodka. Hey, that’s what I’m used to paying for a gallon of Smirnoff. No, in times like these it takes a little extra. In fact it was the special hangtag that caught my eye. “Save Some Green,” it says, and offers $10 off either a 750 ml or 1 liter bottle. Add to that that today this bottle was 20% off, making it about $17. Add a dollar for sales tax, subtract the rebate, and now we’re talking a $22 bottle of vodka for 8 bucks. Now, that’s a bargain! Currently each household can take advantage of this rebate twice before it expires on March 31. That’s a great rebate in these troubled times, and perhaps even enough to convert some Kettle One or Grey Goose customers (though probably not us Smirnoff drinkers).
Oh, and that other critical component for top-shelf vodka? Yes, it tastes quite good.