Craft beer from bread: Zero Waste Scotland celebrates circular economy success story

Aidan Canavan (L) and Simon Tardivel (R) of Bute Brew Co.

An island-based brewery is putting circular economy principles into action with the production of a craft beer made from leftover bread.

Bute Brew Co – based on the isle of Bute – is producing the 5.1% alcohol craft beer using unsold loaves of bread donated from the local Co-operative store. Backed by the Scottish Government and European funding, Zero Waste Scotland was able to provide the seed funding for the consultancy to work with the brewers to research and develop the process. The leftover bread is used in place of some of the malt that would normally be used in the brewing process.

The circular economy is about developing new business models to keep products and materials within the economy for as long as possible, and waste is eliminated.

The beer – called “Thorough Bread” – has already received praise from industry, having been shortlisted in the Innovation of the Year category of the Scottish Beer Awards and Best Eco Friendly category at the Scotsman Food & Drink Awards, both of which took place in September.

Delegates gathered on 3 and 4 October for the Scottish Resources Conference, at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The event, delivered by Zero Waste Scotland and partners CIWM and SEPA, and hosted by BBC Scotland’s Sally Magnusson, has become a must-attend for professionals in Scotland’s circular economy and resources sector.

From 30 October to 1 November, Scotland will play host to the Circular Economy Hotspot, a major international event to showcase our nation’s progressive approach to developing a circular economy and the best of our burgeoning circular businesses to a global audience.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Bute Brew Co. are a perfect example of the way circular economy principles are being put into practice in Scotland. By turning leftovers into an opportunity, they have created a fantastic business opportunity while tackling waste at the same time. I hope their success will be an inspiration for other businesses to come up with their own circular economy business ideas.”

Aidan Canavan, owner of Bute Brew, said:

“Our customers absolutely love this beer, and they love it when they find out how it is made too. Zero Waste Scotland were really supportive of our idea and the initial funding they provided helped make this possible. Thorough Bread has proven really popular and I’m proud that it’s a real community effort, with the bread coming from local stores.”

Zero Waste Scotland has published a case study on Bute Brew :

Zero Waste Scotland leads on delivery of the £73 million Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, which aims to improve the economic performance of SMEs while at the same time reducing the impact of economic activity on the natural environment, supporting Scottish Government and EU policies.