The Climate Conversations: The company that makes beer from unsold bread
Homegrown company CRUST fights food waste by extracting sugar from bread and turning unsold bread into beer.
CEO Travin Singh says that the startup, which started in 2019, produces close to a hundred types of beer from different types of bread.
“Rye bread goes really well with a darker beer. If you try sourdough bread, it goes really well with India Pale Ale (IPA),” says the 31-year-old.
The company has since expanded its business to include sparkling sodas made from surplus fruits and vegetables.
“When we first started, we collected a small amount of (bread) from different bakeries, but we realized that it was not economical and environmentally friendly. So we started identifying much larger companies and then we had a single collection point,” says Singh.
Here are some highlights from this episode of Climate Talks:
HOW TO MAKE BEER FROM UNSOLD BREAD?
Singh: “We remove the sugar content from the bread and rice to replace the grains. We make sure that the bread is in good condition when picking (the bread is the right size to extract as much sugar as possible and the delivery is done correctly) … Then we go to the brewery and make our beers there.”
For those wondering what upcycled beer tastes like, Singh says it’s exactly like regular beer.
“If you think the beer will taste different, you’ll be disappointed because it tastes more or less like anything else on the market.”
BEYOND UPCYCLING, HOW DOES CRUST REDUCE THE CARBON FOOTPRINT?
However, brewing is not the most sustainable process as it uses a lot of water and energy.
Singh acknowledges that the brewing process is resource-intensive, but says that “upcycling is not the only way to reduce our carbon footprint.”
It highlights three ways the company uses to reduce its carbon emissions: using locally sourced produce, maximizing underutilized production facilities, and making new products from used grain.
For locally grown produce, Singh says CRUST has replaced “a good amount” of imported hops (the flowers of the lupulus plant that gives beer aroma and flavor) with lemon myrtle, a botanical grown at Gardens by The Bay.
“So, it’s not just R&D innovation, it’s the supply chain… And the more plants I can find in Singapore… I don’t need to fly large quantities of hops overseas.”