This is the fifth and final post of a weekly series celebrating October as Fair Trade Month. The series highlights the role of Fair Trade in ending trafficking, the Fair Trade availability of commonly consumed foods, and how to encourage companies to go Fair Trade. Each Saturday we've brought you a new, delicious way to fight human trafficking with Fair Trade. Check out the previous editions on chocolate, coffee, sugar, and tea.
Fair Trade Month: Beer, Wine, and Spirits Edition
Why we need Fair Trade alcohol: Around the world, child and slave labor is used to grow and process the raw materials that eventually become our favorite alcoholic beverages. Whether it's exploited workers in California growing wine grapes, sugar cane harvesters in Brazil enslaved to grow sugar for rum, or children around the world working on wheat, barley, or rye farms to produce the grains which become beer, exploitation goes into our alcohol. And unless the makers of our favorite beverages are willing to do some hard research into their supply chains, labor exploitation in these raw materials industries will continue.
Fair Trade wine, beer, and spirits means that those of us who enjoy adult beverages can do so while supporting fair labor practices in all the industries associated with them. Fair Trade wine ensures the people who harvest and process the grapes -- increasingly migrant workers here in the U.S. -- are given a decent wage and not abused. Fair trade beer and spirits can also reduce trafficking in agriculture, both in America and overseas. An increase in consumer demand for Fair Trade booze means more wineries, breweries, and distilleries will be looking to source Fair Trade materials and thus reduce trafficking in those industries.
Where to find Fair Trade alcohol: Fair Trade drinks can be much harder to hunt down than other Fair Trade products; I've never seen one offered in a bar or restaurant, for instance. But Whole Foods carries a few Fair Trade wine brands, and specialty beer and liquor stores have been known to carry Fair Trade alternatives to traditional offerings. But unless you live in a place with a heavy Fair Trade or foodie culture, you'll probably have to order online. And here are some places to look: