All Drake’s spirits are Non-GMO, which makes them better for you and better for the environment. But exactly what does Non Genetically Modified mean? And should we now use the label Non Bioengineered? Both terms came into sharp focus as food and drink labeling changed in the United States on January 1, 2022. What was known as ‘Genetically Modified Organisms' (GMO) is now referred to on labels as ‘Bioengineered’.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) refers to bioengineered spirits, and all food and drink products, as “food that contains genetic material that has been modified through certain laboratory techniques and for which the modification could not be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature.” In other words, the product is not natural or not as nature intended it to be. GMO / bioengineered products are products that have been scientifically altered. Non-GMO products - like Drake’s alcoholic drinks - are pure, organic, and created without the use of any genetically modified ingredients.

Are Bioengineered Products Bad for You?

There is a lot of controversy surrounding GMOs, and scientists have yet to provide conclusive data that shows whether or not GMO drinks and foods are safe or harmful to our health. This uncertainty is enough for many people to choose the natural option - like Drake’s Organic Spirits.

Are GMO Spirits Bad for The Environment?

A lot of alcohol is produced from genetically modified corn. GMO crops are engineered to repel toxic pesticides, so they are sprayed with more chemicals than usual to aid fast growth. The problem is that pesticides contaminate the air, ground, and water due to run off from fields. And pesticides decrease biodiversity in the soil and degrade its quality. Drake’s Organic Spirits are produced only from the finest organic sugarcane, harvested from the valley of the Cauca River in the Andes Mountains in Colombia. You can be assured that no pesticides are used in these lush, fertile plantations.

Organic Cane vs Corn

Sugarcane is a fast-growing grass and can be harvested twice a year for four years. On the other hand, corn requires annual replanting and tilling, which increases soil erosion, dumps, more chemicals into the environment, and creates a much larger carbon footprint. Therefore, organic cane alcohol is more sustainable alternative. Unlike corn, organic cane sugar is also naturally gluten-free. For the consumer of spirits, the difference is in the taste, of course.
And remember, there is no other brand of spirits that is fully distilled with organic cane sugar, as Drake’s is.

Can We Trust Non-GMO Certification?

Yes, we can! There are many hoops to jump through and hard evidence to present to earn certification from the Non-GMO Project. Drake’s Organic Spirits meets all the requirements and standards, for each of its products, and these are checked every year to ensure the high bar has not been lowered. A technical inspection of each ingredient used to produce the spirits is required. This means that ingredients must be sourced from highly reputable farmers, and there must to be ongoing monitoring in the field and at the production facility. This is hard, dedicated work to remain environmentally friendly.
The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization and an established leader for GMO avoidance, setting the industry standard with its butterfly certification since 2010. It is North America’s only third-party verification for non-GMO food and drinks, and ensures products have been comprehensively evaluated by an independent party for compliance with high standards. As mentioned earlier, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) became mandatory on January 1, 2022. But the requirements of the Non-GMO Project Standard already exceed what the NBFDS needs to avoid a “bioengineered” label.

Is This the Same As The Organic Certification?

No, it isn’t. Drake’s Spirits boast five certifications - the only spirits on the market to do so. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) certifies organic status. This certification is even more difficult to attain - and retain - than the Non-GMO certification. For a spirit to be organic, it must be grown and produced without pesticides or fertilizers, and the exact percentage of each ingredient in each product must be calculated. Inspections are stringent to make sure a product is truly organic, and involves evaluating how all equipment used in the spirit-making process is washed, sterilized, and serviced.

Why Are These Certifications Important?

Why? Because we, the consumers, think they are important! Increasingly we demand our food and drink and other products to be made ethically and sustainably. A recent survey of 2,000 Americans and Canadians found that Non-GMO Project and USDA Organic verified were the most recognized certifications on food products. And 41% of consumers said they were more likely to buy USDA Organic products, with 36% saying the same for Non-GMO Project Verified products.
Sustainability is the new buzzword, and for good reason - and Drake’s Organic Spirits is ahead of the demand.

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