Toast Ale launches campaign to fund switch from bottles to cans

Toast Ale, the craft beer made from surplus bread launched by food waste campaigner Tristram Stuart in 2016, is looking to raise £35,000 to make the move from glass bottles to 330-millilitre aluminium cans as part of a wider relaunch of the company’s brand identity.

The craft beer, which has so far upcycled one million slices of fresh surplus bread, launched its crowdfunder campaign on 6 June to promote more sustainable packaging choices.

The decision to switch to cans follows research conducted by Advance London, part of the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB). Weighing up the environmental impacts of both glass and aluminium, Advance London’s research concluded that cans are a more efficient means of packaging the beer.

A campaign image of Toast Ale in its new can
Although there is a high environmental cost of extracting virgin aluminium, the study showed that the transportation and storage efficiencies of cans allows for lower freight emissions than heavier and bulkier glass bottles. According to the Aluminium Association, the space and weight efficiency of cans reduces emissions by 35 per cent compared to glass bottles.

The Advance London study also found that cans are more readily recycled than glass bottles, with approximately 72 per cent of aluminium cans recycled in the UK compared to 67.7 per cent of glass bottles.

Consumer habits are increasingly turning towards cans when it comes to craft beer – in 2018, 25 per cent of all UK craft beer sales were in cans. Alongside the environmental benefits of aluminium, Toast Ale claims that cans are better at preserving the quality of beer. Whilst glass allows light in, which can break down hop compounds, cans block out all UV rays, ensuring that the taste is not compromised.

The relaunch comes as part of Toast Ale’s wider target to upcycle one billion slices of surplus bread. With 24 million slices of bread being thrown out each day in the UK, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), Toast Ale seeks to clamp down on food waste by using bakery surplus in the brewing process. Its upcoming change in packaging will be accompanied by new branding, which seeks to change public attitudes towards wasted food.

Toast Ale’s environmental mission

Toast Ale is offering rewards to those who pledge to the crowdfunder, including limited-edition beer mats, an invitation to its September launch party in central London, and an exclusive insight into the new branding.

As well as its shift to cans, the company is also trialling packaging-free alternatives, with Toast Ale becoming available in reused steel kegs in pubs and bars to allow punters to get their Toast Ale on tap. The beer is also currently available as part of the Waitrose Unpacked campaign in Oxford, which offers produce in refillable containers to encourage consumers to cut down on packaging.

Commenting on the launch of the crowdfunder, Louisa Ziane, Global Head of Brand, Culture and Sustainability, said: “In 2016, we launched our planet saving beer in bottles, and last year introduced kegs so that consumers could get Toast on tap at pubs, bars and events across the UK.

“We also launched cans in the US, and earlier this year into Ireland. They’ve proved a big hit and we’re often asked when they’re coming to the UK.

“We’re exceptionally excited to be able to provide our customers with more ways to do their bit for the planet and to use cans as a canvas to reveal our exciting new branding, which better communicates Toast’s environmental mission.”

Toast Ale has led the way in promoting surplus bread as a viable input for the brewing industry. Scottish brewers Bute Brew Co. last year launched the ‘Thorough Bread’ beer made from unsold loaves of bread from the local Co-operative store on the Isle of Bute, while Toast Ale has collaborated with 25 craft breweries across the UK as it seeks ‘to build a movement’ around circular beer-making.

Toast Ale’s campaign has already raised £34,000 with two days left to reach its £35,000 target. You can find Toast Ale’s fundraising campaign on the official Crowdfunder website.

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