Scottish brewery turns unwanted bread into craft beer

A Scottish brewery is putting circular economy principles into practice with a new craft ale made out of loaves of unsold bread.

Based on the Isle of Bute on the western coast of Scotland, Bute Brew Co’s 5.1 per cent ‘Thorough Bread’ beer is made from unsold loaves of bread from the local Co-operative store, with the bread replacing some of the malt that would normally be used in the brewing process.

The research and development that went into the brewing process was backed by the Scottish Government and EU funding, with Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) providing the seed funding for the consultancy work that underpinned it.Scottish brewery turns unwanted bread into craft beer

Thorough Bread has already received praise from industry, having been shortlisted in the Innovation of the Year category of the Scottish Beer Awards and Best Eco Friendly category at the Scotsman Food and Drink Awards, both of which took place in September.

Bute Brew Co are not the only ones to have applied circular principles to the art of beer-making, with food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart launching his ‘Toast Ale’ back in 2016, which is made using discarded crusts and unsold loaves of bread.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of ZWS, described Bute Brew Co as “a perfect example of the way circular economy principles are being put into practice in Scotland”. He continued: “By turning leftovers into an opportunity, they have created a fantastic business opportunity while tackling waste at the same time. I hope their success will be an inspiration for other businesses to come up with their own circular economy business ideas.”

Aidan Canavan, owner of Bute Brew, added: “Our customers absolutely love this beer, and they love it when they find out how it is made too. ZWS were really supportive of our idea and the initial funding they provided helped make this possible. Thorough Bread has proven really popular and I’m proud that it’s a real community effort, with the bread coming from local stores.”

Scotland on the circular economy forefront

Thorough Bread is the latest circular initiative to come out of Scotland, which has placed itself at the forefront of circular economy thinking in the UK. Delegates have been gathered in Edinburgh for the Scottish Resources Conference, delivered by ZWS and partners CIWM and SEPA (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency) to discuss the future of Scotland’s circular economy and resources sector, with key speakers including Ian Schofield, Own Label and Packaging Manager at Iceland Foods, and Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.

Meanwhile, from 30 October to 1 November, Scotland will play host to the Circular Economy Hotspot, a major international event to showcase the nation's progressive approach to developing a circular economy and the best of its burgeoning circular businesses to a global audience.

ZWS has been a key driver behind Scotland’s push towards a circular economy, leading on delivery of the £73-million Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, which aims to improve the economic performance of SMEs while simultaneously reducing the impact of economic activity on the natural environment. The organisation states that, across Europe, moving towards a more circular economy could generate £1.4 trillion of annual benefits by 2030.

In May this year, ZWS and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce launched an initiative to help small and medium-sized enterprises identify and maximise circular economy opportunities. A range of activities are being held to help identify opportunities for local businesses and direct them towards available support and funding.

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