Award-Winning Craft Beer Brewed With Surplus Bread

AWARD-WINNING CRAFT BEER BREWED WITH SURPLUS BREAD

Food production is the biggest impact we have on the planet, yet globally we waste one-third of all food produced. In the UK, bread is the worst offender – 44% is never consumed. Toast Ale sustainably brew award-winning beer with fresh surplus bread and pour all profits into charity to end food waste. It’s the best thing since, well, you know…

We were founded in late 2015 by leading social entrepreneur Tristram Stuart, an expert on the social and environmental impacts of food production and founder of the charity Feedback. A small team, with support from an advisory board, developed the recipe and branding, set up the operating structure and established sales channels. We launched in January 2016 on Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty’s Friday Night Feast.

Traditional brewing sees barley, water, hops and yeast combined and fermented to produce a variety of beers. It’s a formula beer drinkers recognise across all their favourite brands. Yet the irony is that this isn’t traditional at all.

The earliest beer recipes used surplus bread used a key ingredient – it is one of the earliest known ways of preserving the calories in bread. The carbohydrates in the baked grains are converted to simple sugars by enzymes, which ferment over time with the presence of yeast to produce alcohol. It’s a technique no longer used, partly because we have abundant access to relatively cheap barley for brewing. We are reviving an old tradition to solve a modern day problem, taking an everyday food that is usually discarded in huge quantities and turning it into a delicious, long life product.

The innovation we have brought around this is to create a brand that has mass appeal. The water-to-wine upcycle story doesn’t demand consumers change what they do but shows them a way of doing it better – the most compelling way to initiate large scale behaviour change. By donating all profits to charity, we additionally enable consumers to do good by drinking beer – a unique guilt-free consumer proposition.

Our approach is uniquely collaborative, openly sharing our recipe and partnering with breweries all over the world. We are influencing change in the industry, with UK supermarkets M&S and Iceland launching bread beers in 2018 to upcycle surplus bread in their own supply chains.

We have grown rapidly since our launch and changed aspects to maximise results. We outgrew our original brewery partner in London and relocated to Wold Top Brewery in Yorkshire. We have tweaked the recipe to maximise the bread to barley ratio and introduced new technology to prepare the bread for brewing – slices originally toasted and shredded by hand are now processed through an industrial shredder.

We’ve also made changes to our supply chain. We’ve established relationships with large sandwich manufacturers, including Adelie and Bradgate, whilst continuing to work with small bakeries for one-off collaboration brews. Strict quality control processes are in place.

MORE ABOUT TOAST ALE

A social enterprise and Certified B Corporation, Toast has upcycled nearly 1 million slices of bread since its inception, producing over 300,000 litres of beer and donating nearly $13,000 to the charity Feedback, who campaign for a better food system.