It may be the first beer of its kind in Canada.
The beer is called Our Daily Bread. It’s brewed with bread that was originally destined for the landfill and supplied by a program within Community Connections, called Food Connect, Revelstokes’ food recovery program. Part of the proceeds from the beer will be donated to the local food bank.
“It’s an innovative way to deal with food waste,” says Jenna Fraser, Community Food and Outreach Coordinator at Community Connections.
Earlier this year, Fraser says Food Connect gave 150 lbs of bread, such as Kaiser rolls and dinner rolls, to a farmer for pig feed.
“The farmer said he couldn’t keep up with all the bread. He was inundated by it.”
Not wanting to throw away the abundance, Food Connect started to brainstorm for ideas.
The program aims to redirect food from landfills by partnering with restaurants, food retailers, lodges, and local farmers/gardeners. Food that’s either close to or at its best before date, overstocked, mislabeled, “ugly” is redistributed to 18 different programs in Revelstoke including the food bank, school breakfast programs, after-school program, women’s shelter, and many other non-profit organizations. In 2017, Food Connect says they received 25,000 lbs of bread. Last Aug. alone, they recovered 2,500 lbs.
“We actually referred to it as bread mountain,” says Fraser.
According to a report by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, an environmental watchdog agency set up under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canadians are one of the worst food wasters, with almost 400 kg of food per capita thrown away yearly, costing roughly $30 billion and creating 21 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. Every Canadian, on average, tosses 170 kg of food away a year.
Fraser says early this year she watched a documentary that featured a British brewery that takes bread destined for the landfill and utilizes it to create a beer called Toast Ale.
After seeing the documentary, Fraser reached out to Mt. Begbie Brewery to see if they would be interested in something similar.
“And they were,” says Fraser.
Mt. Begbie Brewery says they were up for the challenge and the excitement of something new.
“We literally brought a whole bunch of bread into the brewery and started to tear it up and make beer,” says Brett Coombes, from Mt. Begbie Brewery.
“In beer, the bread is used for the sugars,” says Coombes.
While it replaces some of the malts in the brew, other grains are still needed.
“This was a big unknown. Bread can be pretty bland, but the brewers are really happy with it. It has a good flavour,” says Coombes.
Mt. Begbie Brewery started to sell the beer last Friday, and say it’s already popular.
“It has a nice caramel flavour with a hint of cinnamon,” says Dallas Moore, a manager at Mt. Begbie Brewery.
The brewery is also selling a paired meal to compliment the beer.
While there are beers around the world made from bread, such as kvass in Russia and sahti in Finland, according to Mt. Begbie Brewery, there are none in Canada.
“We couldn’t find anywhere in Canada that does it,” says Moore.
While the aim is to create a good beer, it’s also to raise awareness.
“Once food is sent to the landfill, it’s gone. We try to encourage people to re-use food,” says Fraser.
For the moment Our Daily Bread is just an experimental beer and there are no current plans to make it a mainstay at the brewery.
While many restaurants, lodges, and food retailers donate to Food Connect, some businesses donate daily.
“Save-On-Foods, Southside Market, Tim Horton’s, and Starbucks donate daily,” says Fraser. Save-On-Foods is unique, says Fraser, because they donate not only bread, but produce, meat, and dairy.
The next project for Food Connect is to focus on reducing waste at home. Instead of throwing away a stale load, maybe make bread crumbs instead.
“Or bread pudding,” says Fraser.
Our Daily Bread is available this week at the Mt. Begbie Brewery’s tasting room. They are open from 11:30 to 9:00 p.m Monday to Saturday.