Toast Ale

Best Start-up Enterprise Sponsor

Food production is the biggest contributor to climate change and biodiversity loss – it’s responsible for 80% of deforestation, 70% of freshwater use and approximately 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. But one third of all food is wasted.

We set up Toast Ale to change that.

We brew our planet-saving beer with surplus fresh bread. All our profits go to charities fixing the food system.

In 2015, a visit to a Belgium brewery inspired Toast’s circular economy business model. Tristram Stuart, an environmental campaigner and a future Toast Ale founder, learnt that the very first beers were produced thousands of years ago by fermenting baked grains. With industrial quantities of fresh bread wasted all over the world (44% of bread is wasted in the UK), here was an opportunity to use the booming craft brewing industry to deliver positive impact.

Toast’s approach is two-fold. Firstly we produce great tasting craft beer that directly reduces food waste by using surplus bread as a valuable ingredient. Secondly, we influence wider systemic change by funding charities tackling the underlying drivers of waste, by collaborating with other breweries to create an industry-wide movement and by creating positive conversations to nudge individual behaviour change.

What better way to start a conversation than over a cheeky pint.

Brewing with surplus fresh bread

We source the heel ends of loaves that aren’t used by the sandwich industry and end of day surplus loaves from large bakeries. We are currently working with EF Bakers in Bognor Regis and have also collaborated with bakeries such as Warburtons. The surplus bread replaces ¼ of the malted barley, providing starches that are broken down to fermentable sugars by malt enzymes. and turned to alcohol during fermentation.

To scale our impact, we open-source a recipe for home brewers and collaborate with breweries to create beers with unique local stories. We’ve worked with over 80 breweries in 10 countries, including Fourpure, Adnams, Wiper and True, De Molen and Greene King.

Changing the grain bill across the brewing industry would free land that would otherwise be converted to agriculture, reducing emissions from deforestation. It would also reduce emissions and resource use from cultivating, processing, transporting and malting barley. It would be nothing short of a game-changer.

Fixing the food system.

Food waste is symptomatic of systemic failures in the production, distribution and storage of our food. From cosmetic standards that cause crops to be rejected, to overly-cautious date labels that lead to the disposal of perfectly fresh food.

As a social enterprise, we donate 100% of our distributable profits (a minimum of 1% of revenue) to charities fixing the food system. Our main charity partner is Feedback, which has a mission to secure nutritious, delicious food for all whilst regenerating our planet.

By the end of 2021, Toast Ale had brewed with over 3 million slices of surplus fresh bread, donated over £106,000 to charity and reached millions to inspire positive action for the planet.

We’re committed to achieve net zero by 2030 and are working with other businesses, including the B Corp community (we were the first UK brewery to become a Certified B Corp in 2018), to identify opportunities and magnify our impact as a collective.

You can read more about our impact to date in our 2022 Impact Report, and follow our progress via the impact indicators on our website.

Here’s to change. Cheers.

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