As the country navigates its way through another lockdown, it’s easy for businesses to feel renewed anxiety. As 2020’s difficulties rollover to 2021, it’s important to notice the success stories that COVID have brought about. 

One such success story is businesses succeeding during challenging times, and these businesses are baking beer bread.

Supermarkets join the bread-beer movement

At the end of last year, major UK retailer Morrisons teamed up with Saltaire Brewery to create beer brewed from leftover bread. With COVID driving bread demands sky high, and there being a continuous strain of leftover loaves, many retailers are beginning to innovate to reduce waste. 

The bread, which is used to replace a portion of the malt, gives the beer “toasty notes” while the hops provide a “citrus kick”. The beer is now available in 290 UK stores.

Out of the spent pile and into our loaves

Meanwhile, innovations coming from stateside look to create an interesting new supply line for US bakeries. 

NETZRO, a Minnesota-based food upcycling company is seizing the moment to create flour from breweries waste spent grain. They noticed that often spent grain is sent to local farmers to feed livestock if they have the budget and partnerships existing, or it’s placed in biodegradable waste.

Instead of letting all this potential waste, NETZRO trucks haul away the brewers’ spent grain, which is then kilned via infrared heat and milled and packaged by an artisan grain mill.

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Back in the UK, Toast moves their beer sales online to feed the vulnerable

In the UK, brewer Toast has been crafting ale using leftover loaves since 2015. Their dedication to the environment, and feeding the vulnerable is admirable. As of now, their homepage boasts 1,957,042 bread slices saved by their brewing, alongside 42 tons of carbon emissions avoided. But, while they have a great product and incredible ethics, they too struggled with the introduction of lockdown.

Yet, during the first lockdown, their pivot to online sales and donations led to around 30,000 vulnerable people being fed. To achieve this, they relaunched their webshop and introduced free delivery. Their packs of craft beer start at £20, with all profits being donated back into charity. 

Chelsea Winter dubs beer bread the “Lockdown Loaf”

Meanwhile, halfway around the world in New Zealand, Chelsea Winter (a chef and baker), dubbed beer bread the “Lockdown Loaf”. 

Due to the shortage of yeast on the shelves and through the supply chain, bakeries and consumers alike were finding alternatives to bake their loaves, and that alternative was beer. 

Existing businesses push their loaves and beer online to benefit the environment

While there were businesses that adapted to move online, or to innovate their loaf baking process, other businesses were already there. 

UK businesses such as Jar House were winning Great Taste Awards in 2020 for their eight variations of beer loaves. 

At the same time, Crumbs Brewing (aware that 44% of bread in the UK is wasted), have a great range of beers using unwanted loaves. Their range includes a rye and coffee blend, a sourdough pale ales, a rye ruby and more. So far, they’ve saved 16,200 loaves and counting.   

Both these businesses made use of their online stores to continue to capitalise during tough times. And with more of a focus shifting to the environment (we’ve covered the statistics in our COVID trends article), and local stores this type of product that gives back to the community and the environment, is finding a growing consumer base. 

Helping keep your supply chain reliable

While the supply chain has proven a challenge for some businesses throughout 2020, we’re proud to say our chain has been robust and reliable. We’ve been able to service customers as normal. As ever, we are here to support bakers through challenging times and work in partnership to development outstanding baked goods for changing consumers. Get in touch if you’re looking to kick-start your next bakery development.