A Japanese brewery is turning waste beer into gin

Turning one excellent thing into another... and helping out restaurants

Rachael Hogg posted in Beer
47w ago

The Kiuchi Brewery, based in Naka-City in the Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan, has come up with a novel way to stop beer going to waste during lockdown.

Currently, all around the world, bars, pubs, restaurants and breweries are having to throw away millions of litres of kegged beer as it turns stale.

UK body, Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has estimated around 50m pints of beer will go to waste in UK pubs if lockdown measures stay in place until late summer. And in France, trade association Brasseurs de France, which represents 98% of France’s breweries, has estimated 10m litres of beer will go to waste.

Real ales and unpasteurised beers have quite a short use-by window of around six to nine weeks, with pasteurised beer lasting for around three to four months.

As you might have gathered (or seen from those long forgotten bottles from the 80s lurking in the back of your cupboards), spirits have a much longer shelf life.

In Japan, restaurants are sending their unsold beer to the Kiuchi Brewery’s facility in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, where it’s then distilled into gin, rebottled, and sent back to the restaurant that originally sent the beer.

The places taking part just pay for the gin shipping, and any venue with a minimum of 20 litres of beer to use up can get involved in the juniper action.

From 100 litres of beer, the Kiuchi Brewery can make eight litres of gin.

It is hoped that if demand increases, the company will also use its other two breweries as distilleries.

Toshiyuki Kiuchi, Vice President of Kiuchi Brewery said, “One client asked us to process more than 20 tons of beer.”

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