Canberra-based Capital Brewing Co have produced the ‘Salvaged Series’ of beers made with rescued fruit, which will be debuted at Sydney’s GABS beer festival this Friday and Saturday.

The Salvaged Series includes: Apple & Rhubarb Crumble Pastry Imperial Sour, using ugly apples and oversupply of rhubarb; Leftover Pavlova Pastry Sour, Kiwi, made using strawberry and mango from Ziggy’s Market that would have been thrown out; Cherry Cola Seltzer, made using oversupply of cherries from Back Creek Orchards; and Blackberry & Plum Stout, made using oversupply of blackberries and plums.

Mick Healy, Creative Director of Capital Brewing told The Shout why the brewery first decided to introduce the Salvaged Series.

“This year we wanted to do something a bit different for GABS, something that would start a positive conversation around sustainability. 

“Wastage of food is a big issue and by raising awareness around the issue and educating consumers we feel this will help them make more sustainable purchase choices in their grocery purchase routine,” Healy continued.

“In addition to this we have a bunch of farmer friends at Capital and helping them by purchasing the imperfect or bruised fruit that otherwise would have gone to waste has been a great opportunity to support them.”

And the brewery is keen to deepen the kind of partnership described here, as Managing Director Laurence Kain described.

“We definitely see further room to grow, and we are working on our supply chain to use more sustainably farmed agricultural inputs, primarily malt, along with fruit and other farmers who produce interesting ingredients we can use to create delicious beers.”

Each of the beers is accompanied by a fun artwork and backstory, and Healy explained that appealing to consumers is crucial to communicating the importance of sustainability.

“There is one thing to have a sustainable story but the other is to catch the eye of the consumer and communicate in a short and succinct way the benefits of the beer. Having the playful name and character allows us to do this in the fast-moving environment of the bar.

“We feel once the attention has been captured and beer ordered or customers will then lean into the story behind the beer further.”

Brewing adjustments

Wade Hurley, Head Brewer at Capital said that the team let the fruit available guide their decision making.

“We decided what fruits to use based on what we could get our hands on.

“For instance, we got the cherries from a friend of ours who used the small and deformed cherries to make cherry juice. The cherry juice was perfectly fine but they were having trouble finding anyone who wanted to use large amounts of cherry juice. That’s where we stepped in.

“Every fruit that we used in all four of these beers was most likely on the way to the tip even though they tasted great,” Hurley said.

To produce these products, the brewery did have to experiment with new methods and techniques.

“We usually don’t buy whole fruit and process it ourselves,” Hurley explained.

“We had to process all the fruit, besides the cherry juice, that we used in the salvaged series. Processing fruit meant lots of hours blending fruit, then heating it up past 80 degrees to ensure all the wild bacteria that lives on the outside of fruit wouldn’t make its way into the beer.”

For Capital Brewing, this is the latest step towards a more sustainable future from a brewery which is already a certified B Corp, and is Climate Active certified as a completely carbon neutral brewery.  For Kain, initiatives like the Salvaged Series will only grow in importance as the industry seeks to become more sustainable.

“One of the more popular quotes at Capital is: ‘There is no beer on a dead planet’ – sustainable business choices are critical if we are going to manage our impact on this beautiful planet of ours,” Kain said.

“In addition to this operating in a sustainable way is becoming an expectation from consumers, especially in the younger generations.

“For breweries to stay relevant and positively impact the business community it’s crucial to make sustainable business decisions so we would say it’s very important.”

Capital Brewing Marketing Manager, Jonny Day, told The Shout what he was anticipating at GABS Sydney.

“The positive conversations with our fellow industry colleagues and friends is definitely something we are excited about. The Capital activation is always a vibe and having these great beers to taste and talk about will make it even better,” Day said.

“We look forward to continuing to innovate in this space and bringing the industry together to ensure we are all making sustainable operating choices where possible.”

GABS Sydney is hosted at the ICC Darling Harbour on Friday 2 June and Saturday 3 June.

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