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Kahlua expands its Investments in Sustainable Coffee and Local Communities
Kahlua expands its Investments in Sustainable Coffee and Local Communities

August 16 - 2022

Coffee Geography Magazine


Kahlúa, popular brand, decided to have responsible sourcing as the coffee-based liqueur that pairs well with milk (as in the White Russian where coffee, soda, vodka, soda, ice cream or all of them together) sees to invest in the coffee farmers and their families that provide the brand its most vital ingredient. Kahlúa is a brand of coffee liqueur owned by the Pernod Ricard company and produced in Veracruz, Mexico. 

The drink contains rum, sugar, and arabica coffee. Kahlúa and its parent company, Pernod Ricard, announced the adopting a three-tiered sustainability program so that 100 percent of its coffee is sourced responsibly for the brand by the end of this year. First, the company will launch education and training programs for coffee farmers — including tactics such as improved forest management, biodiversity and soil management.

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Next, this plan has a social component, one that covers gender equality, education and social impact. Its plans include expanded access to clean water and sanitation, with the construction of rainwater capture tanks and dry toilets. Finally, Kahlúa intends to pay farmers a premium for their coffee beans — similar to the fair trade model, though the brand has not explicitly used the term in describing this program. 
Nevertheless, the end game is similar: Investments in crop management, nurseries, soil health and crop diversification can help ensure that farmers and their families can build wealth and thereby invest in their local communities. Kahlúa will continue to partner with Fondo Para La Paz, a Mexico-based nonprofit, to carry out the aforementioned initiatives. The brand has been working with the organization since 2016.
“We recognize that the way we consume, do business and ultimately live has to change,” said Billy King, Kahlúa’s director of sustainable development, in a public statement. “With this program, we have the opportunity to engage with communities we rely on for our ingredients and work together to ensure a strong and more sustainable future for us all.” 
Born in Veracruz, Mexico in 1936, Kahlúa comes steeped in history, with a rich and colorful heritage. 
Made with 100% Arabica coffee beans and rum, Kahlúa coffee liqueur is one of the main ingredients in many of the world’s favorite cocktails. From the White Russian, Black Russian and Mudslide, to the cocktail du jour… the Espresso Martini! Plus many more classics, old and new. 
 Pedro Domecq began producing Kahlúa in 1936. It was named Kahlúa, meaning "House of the Acolhua people" in the Veracruz Nahuatl language. Jules Berman was the first importer of the liqueur to the United States, earning him the nickname "Mr. Kahlua".
The company merged in 1994 with Allied Lyons to become Allied Domecq. In turn, that company was partially acquired in 2005 by Pernod Ricard, the largest spirits distributor in the world since its merger with the Swedish Vin & Sprit in March 2008. 
Since 2004, the alcohol content of Kahlúa is 20.0%; earlier versions had 26.5%. In 2002, a more expensive, high-end product called "Kahlúa Especial" became available in the United States, Canada and Australia after previously being offered only in duty-free markets. Made with arabica coffee beans grown in Veracruz, Mexico, Kahlúa Especial has an alcohol content of 36%, has a lower viscosity, and is less sweet than the regular version. 
In 2021 Kahlúa introduced a new bottle design. It also reduced the alcohol content to 16% "to address 'evolving' consumer trends towards conscious drinking and lower-alcohol options. The drink is used to make cocktails or drink neat or on ice. Some people use it when baking desserts, and/or as a topping for ice cream, cakes, and cheesecakes. It is mixed in several ways, often with different combinations of milk, cream, coffee and cocoa.