Eco booze: Singapore brewers going green by using leftover bread and treated water

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Left to right: Crust Bread Ale (Crust Brewing) and NEWBrew (collaboration between NEWater and Brewerkz) ©Crust Brewing, Brewerkz
Left to right: Crust Bread Ale (Crust Brewing) and NEWBrew (collaboration between NEWater and Brewerkz) ©Crust Brewing, Brewerkz

Related tags Singapore Beer sustainable

Companies in Singapore are brewing beer with surplus bread and recycled water in a bid to reduce food waste and increase sustainability.

Crust Brewing is one such company creating beer using fresh surplus white bread collected from Maison Kayser, a French artisan bakery in Singapore, as well as RedMart, an e-commerce platform.

Its flagship product, bread ale was launched in September 2019.

According to Travin Singh, founder of Crust Brewing, the response had been positive. “We have been approached for collaborations by plenty of companies too, these are companies who also would like to make a difference​.”

Bread ale currently retails at over 16 food establishments in Singapore such as Maison Kayser outlets, restaurants, bars and RedMart.

Reduce waste

Travin told FoodNavigator-Asia​, the preservation of bread was one of the oldest forms of making beer: “I am not doing anything new here, but the society has changed, everything we use is single use now​.”

According to him, from 2008 to 2018, food waste in Singapore rose 30 to 40%

He told us people had the misconception that the bread was used as yeast in beer production, but explained  that the yeast in bread is already dead.

We use the bread to substitute our grains (barley and malt), extract the sugars from the bread to convert to alcohol​.”

Currently, they are substituting 30% of grains, which they hope to stretch to 40%.

Together with Ben Phua, who is chief operating officer at Crust Brewing, the company produces beer through contract brewing with On Tap Craft Beer Bistro.

According to Travin, not having his own brewery had proved challenging. “We do not have that much control over certain issues from brewing to logistics to operations, but we are working on it.

“We are nowhere near perfect, but we are definitely learning and improving every day​.”

The firm is launching four more beers, I Knead An Easy IPA (its second flagship product), The King's IPA (collaboration with Edible Garden City), Beerguette (collaboration with Tiong Bahru Bakery), and Kaya Toast Stout (collaboration with The 1925 Brewing Co).

Apart from making beer, Crust Brewing is also developing a spirit made from bread, which will be released in a year’s time.

The company is also looking at ways to further reduce waste, including using spent grains, the by-product from beer production as a possible animal feed or fertiliser.

Recycle water

In a separate move, Singapore’s national water agency, Public Utilities Board (PUB), recently collaborated with local craft brewery, Brewerkz, to retail NEWBrew, a craft beer made using NEWater.

NEWater is Singapore’s own brand of recycled water which is primarily used in wafer fabrication plants, industrial estates and commercial buildings for cooling and industrial processes.

Cindy Keng, director of 3P Network at PUB, told FoodNavigator-Asia​: “These industrial uses require water quality that is even more stringent than water for drinking​.”

In addition, NEWater is also added to our reservoirs to blend with raw water, which is treated at the waterworks before it is supplied to consumers as tap water​,” she added.

Mitch Gribov, head brewer at Brewerkz added NEWater has a very low mineral content that allows malt, hops and yeast flavours to shine through.

There are plans to make NEWBrew available to the public, in a limited run, via a local supermarket.

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