Tribe Breweries has teamed up with supermarket giant Woolworths to launch a limited edition pale ale, made with 350kgs of unsold bread.
The beer, dubbed ‘Loafer’ will be sold in BWS and Dan Murphy’s outlets, and a percentage of the proceeds will go to Feed Appeal, which supports local charities delivering food relief programmes, allocating money to help deliver infrastructure and food staples to communities and individuals in need.
For every $25 six-pack sold 50 cents is donated, and for every $73 carton sold $2 is donated to Feed Appeal. Tribe has brewed more than 5,000 cases of the beer for the limited edition run.
The bread Tribe used in the brew was redirected from landfill, and creates the first ‘circular economy’ beer, according to Woolworths.
Josh Gaudry, head of marketing and innovation at Tribe, said that while the idea of making a beer out of bread wasn’t new, this particular project is believed to be the first of its size.
“Craft brewers are trying everything, so it’s not the first bread beer. But we believe this is the first of this scale… it’s huge. We’re using 350kgs of bread, it’s brought in by the pallet load.”
There were also some technical difficulties in brewing the beer.
“There was a bit of anxiety and trepidation about it from a brewing perspective. We’ve never done it before and we’ve got a brand spanking new brewery – it’s a lot of bread!
“Our brewers were anxious the bread would clog up their kit, we were worried it might not work.”
To make the bread brewery-friendly, it was cut into small pieces and dried – effectively delivered as croutons.
“It was then added, but the malt wasn’t 100 per cent switched out so there is some malt in there.”
Tribe couldn’t use sourdough or any grain-heavy breads either.
“We used one type of bread to reduce some of the complexity of it and to ensure there’s no health risks to people who might have allergies,” explained Gaudry.
He said that the reasons for Tribe getting behind this were to raise awareness of sustainability in the industry as well as charitable causes, and it also prove a technical challenge for the team.
“Loafer pale ale isn’t going to save the world but if it starts a conversation which raises awareness around waste and the charities we want to support, that’s the real benefit.
“From our perspective, we’ve just opened the doors at Goulburn and we wanted to push the boundaries and test our own abilities – it’s an interesting challenge.”
But that’s not to say Tribe are the only brewer getting behind sustainability issues, as James Perrin from Stone & Wood highlighted at his BrewCon19 presentation.
“Without a doubt, the brewing industry [is making a huge effort towards sustainability].
“It might not be as easy to promote in the media, but the effort going into things like better water management or packaging solutions – it’s real and important, but it’s not something people talk about as often.”
Whether it’s a short term partnership or the start of a longer-term collaboration remains to be seen, but Tribe is open to further opportunities. A spokesperson from Woolworths said they would definitely consider it as part of its commitment to cutting down food waste, saying the supermarket had already seen 55,000 tonnes of food diverted from landfill with other initiatives.
“This is just a first run, it’s only just hit the shelves now but I suspect we’ll get a knock on the door for another run. It will be a discussion between the three of us [Woolworths, Feed Appeal and Tribe],” said Gaudry.
“If it sells why not? We are completely open to everything, and I don’t know if there are any other breweries that would take on this piece.
“There are so many elements of unknown and risks with it but we put our hand up for it and now it’s been successful there’s definitely an energy in the organisation that means we want to do more.”
Loafer Pale Ale from Tribe is sold exclusively at BWS and Dan Murphy’s.