LET'S GET REAL
and get a conversation going
BROKEN FOOD SYSTEM
Our food system (all people, animals, and the infrastructure that feed us) is struggling and it's time to be open and transparent about it. As craft beverage producers, we believe that sharing our struggles and learnings is the first step towards a fair and great-tasting future.
We do not hold all the answers ourselves, instead, we are curious: to listen, to learn, to adopt and adapt best practices. And, as we grow and strive to become the most responsible craft brewery, to innovate.
Craft breweries have a huge issue with using one-time plastic kegs. Currently, due to supply infrastructure inefficiencies and because of the nature of the business models, it is very challenging to use reusable kegs.
The positive side is that plastic kegs are supposed to be recycled into new plastic products. We use one-time kegs. We have no clue yet how to get to the next level. But we want to.
CANS AND BOTTLES
One-time cans or reusable bottles?
Reusable bottles with a well-designed collection, return, and reuse system are a better option for beverage producers. However, for us to tap into the reusable glass bottle system, we would need our own bottle collection, washing, and reuse infrastructure, which is not currently achievable. Cans are preferred over recyclable bottles because they are lighter and, generally, in Denmark, aluminum and can recycling rates are high.
For now, we are using recyclable cans, but we are exploring ways to implement reusable packaging in the future.
Very few of us (we're looking at you, Svaneke Brewery) generate our own energy. Usually, we are bound to whatever the energy mix is in our countries. As craft producers, the only thing we can do is minimize our energy use by being more efficient and innovative in our processes and recipes, for example, creating ones that require less energy input. Think of no-boil craft beer.
Currently, we are an electricity-powered steam-generating brewery.
We cannot talk about sustainability, communities, raw ingredients, and beer diversity without including people from different walks of life. The beer industry is still very monolithic.
On our side, we are deeply listening and learning about the role diversity plays, and how we can have not only a green transition but also a transition into more diverse workplaces and a more inclusive society. If you have knowledge or insights to share, please do so.
CLOSING IN ON THE CIRCULARITY LOOP
We require 30-80% fewer ingredients. Our technology allows us to substitute malt with upcycled, unsold bread. Starch is starch, and bread is one of the most wasted food items in the world. We estimate that if all wasted baked goods in Denmark were collected and upcycled, they could fulfill the entire national beer demand.
FROM FARM TO TABLE
Via bread that never made it to the table: unsold, misshapen, forgotten, unbaked, overproduced, unloved, discarded bread makes sense for craft beer. Beer and bread, both made from fermented grains, have a shared history that dates back to ancient cultures. This humble grain, that has lifted and brought down civilizations, deserves a second life on our tables.
We use a high-efficiency brewery setup, together with a mash filter that allows higher extraction rates, thus requiring up to 30% less malt to brew the same amount of beer.
There is no such thing as food waste in breweries. Once spent yeast, grain, and hops are labeled “waste” they are downcycled to biogas or animal feed. We still do it, too. Nevertheless, we are working hard with our partners and network to change that. Our belief is that all food and nutrients must be kept at the highest value for human consumption as long as possible.
LET'S GET VULNERABLE
We take food waste personally. Call us "tree huggers" if you must, but we firmly believe that no single company or individual can claim full ownership of our planet's resources. Instead, we all share responsibility and must take ownership together, from the ingredients in our food to pretty much everything else.
The mash filter allows us to waste less water during the brewing process. Our spent grain comes out much drier, more shelf-stable, and more suitable for reuse.
We use much less artificial CO2 since we capture CO2 from fermentation and use it in our brewery.
While experimenting and playing around with different microbiology, we learned that some yeasts require less maintenance while fermenting superior beer. Hail the KVEIK, our go-to yeast family: loves high temperatures, ferments cleanly and quickly (three days and we're done), and leaves behind a lot of mouthwatering taste and aroma. It requires minimal cooling and management. The mash filter can press out wort (also known as beer juice or grain juice) within 20 minutes, so we can potentially brew up to 10 times a day.
Brewing beer is a resource-intensive and energy-intensive activity, with many moving parts and energy expenditures. Our ambition is to capture and reuse energy whenever possible. We have designed and installed steam recovery systems that channel all energy back to heat the next batch. Throughout the system, we have steam and heat traps to minimize energy loss.
If we do not brew right after energy capture, we lose the energy.
Thus, maintaining continuous production is key to achieving high efficiency and low impact.
To produce one liter of beer, between 3 and 10 liters of water are wasted, and large amounts of spent grain, yeast, and hops are produced. Traditionally, these leftovers have been considered waste and have only been recycled or disposed of: by burning, feeding to animals, or producing biogas. However, most of this "waste" is not really waste at all, it's another product that the brewery makes. We have flipped the idea of a traditional craft brewery that only produces beer, and believe that a brewery can do more than that. We are committed to producing beer while also valuing our by-products and finding ways to use them for human consumption. For example, spent grain can be used for growing artisanal mushrooms, spent yeast can be reused, and spent hops can be recycled.
The world is our oyster mushroom!
We take it very seriously.
Globalization connected us beyond anyone's beliefs, but for our beer and food, in general, it is starting to look counterproductive. Denmark is no exception to other EU countries, where we consume more than we produce and grow here. We would need 2x/3x more land to feed the Danish population in the way we do it now. It means that we depend on supply from other countries which, considering the constant political and climate uncertainties, can easily be seen as a food and national security issue.
Supporting local producers, capacity building for innovation, and biodiversity are only a few important matters that we support when sourcing ingredients as close as possible.
We love hoppy, hazy, and tropical IPAs, although it makes very little sense to get them from the USA/New Zealand when we have producers close by that can match the flavor and aroma expectations if we only give them a chance. Our upcycled ingredients come from local partners, and for the other ingredients, we start by sourcing them in Denmark. If we cannot locate them, we spread our search into Scandinavia but never go beyond the EU.
If you see us using something exotic and not native to our region, rest assured that it is either being grown here already or we get it from a surplus, for upcycling.
CaaS (CIRCULARITY AS A SERVICE)
Imagine a place that bakes its own bread and also sells beer. Well, that's exactly where we come in. No matter how well-oiled such places are, surplus bread is a given constant. So instead of being wasted, we provide Circularity as a Service - where we collect surplus bread, upcycle it into craft beer, and deliver beer back for serving. You may use it in your marketing campaign, but circularity is really about continued action, finding what works and integrating it into our daily operations.
95% of the time we keep our focus on essentials - flavor and responsibility, yet our minds are constantly brewing ideas for the future, and we see a very exciting world of food and beverages ahead of us. Gastronomy is a powerful tool to make life exciting, joyful, and worthwhile. We are most curious about novel, clean, and natural ingredient Research & Development, and we are exploring possibilities with designers, artists, futurists, scientists, and anyone in between.
Always in flux.