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30 Apr 2020 By

Air Co Just Launched a Carbon-Negative Vodka Made From CO2. You Oughta Try It, We Did.

By Charlie Burton (GQ UK)


Air Co’s carbon-negative vodka is winning plaudits from the scientific community. But how does it taste?

Most “innovative” drinks are marketing gimmicks. Air Co’s new vodka, however, is garnering recognition from the scientific community. The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE is a $20 million award designed to spur the creation of new technologies to help tackle climate change by converting CO2 into usable products. The winner will be announced later this year and Air Co is one of the finalists.

Air Co vodka

Based in New York City, the company aims to make a host of carbon-negative products, starting with vodka. Its method only uses air, water and sunlight. “This is done by capturing carbon dioxide from the air using solid sorbent air capture technology and generating electricity from sunlight using solar panels, which also power our patent-pending electrochemical reactor,” explains Air Co. “This system breaks apart the captured carbon dioxide, along with water, over our proprietary catalysts and reforms them to produce alcohol with pure oxygen as the only by-product. This process has net negative carbon emissions, removing a half of a kilogram of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per kilogram of alcohol produced in a complete lifecycle analysis.”

That means that one bottle of Air Co vodka represents the same amount of carbon conversion as eight trees would achieve in a day.

All well and good, but what’s it actually like? Well, GQ got its hands on a bottle. 

The decoration is deliberately minimalist, not only to reflect the purity of the process and the spirit, but also to reduce materials (the labels can also be easily removed so the vessel can be upcycled, perhaps into a vase or candle holder, per Air Co’s recommendation). It looks stylish and satisfyingly different – an intriguing item to display on your home drinks trolley.

Air Co vodka

As for the taste, remember that vodka isn’t like other spirits. Whereas a good whisky recalls other flavours (vanilla, say, or honey), a vodka’s quality is judged via negativa: it’s all about what it doesn’t taste like – premium brands don’t taste medicinal or grainy or like perfume. Instead they are so pure they taste almost like water. And that’s exactly how Air Co’s tastes – clean and crisp like a shard of light. Served ice cold, it is good enough to sip.

And you ought to be sipping it – you owe it to the climate.

Read it at GQ

£52 for 750ml. aircompany.com

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