Coles Liquor has partnered with Melbourne-based brewer Local Brewing Co to rescue unsold produce and turn it into beer.
The Surplus Sour Watermelon Beer is the first of an exclusive series of sour beers from the partnership and has just launched this month. The new beer was created with three tonnes of unsold watermelons from Coles produce supplier, Rombola Family Farms, as well as 300kg of unsold Coles bread.
The Coles Liquor and Local Brewing Co partnership is set to produce at least three other exclusive fruit sour beers over the next 12 months, in collaboration with other Coles suppliers. Brad Gorman, Coles Liquor Merchandise General Manager, said the series will meet the growing demand for sour beers as well as genuine sustainable products.
“We’re already planning new exclusive sours through partnerships with seasonal fruit suppliers in the supermarket business, which will underpin the creation of an exclusive, sustainable sour beer brand that will be unique to Coles Liquor,” Gorman said.
“Sour beers are a very strong and rapidly growing segment in craft beer and we know our customers love locally made products; it’s a key element of delivering on our ambition to be the local drinks specialist.”
The collaboration has significantly upscaled production for Local Brewing Co, which has been creating sour beers on a boutique scale for the last three years. It also boosts the positive social impact of the brewery, in which it ordinarily contributes the equivalent of one meal from the sale of every four-pack of its beer to SecondBite, an organisation which seeks to reduce food waste to support those in need. The new partnership will now see the equivalent of one meal donated for every single can of the Surplus beer sold.
“Our collaboration with Coles Liquor has been incredible – it’s allowed us to brew a genuinely sustainable beer and increase our social impact,” said Nick Campbell, Co-founder of Local Brewing Co.
“We know from the release of previous sour beers that customers embrace this genuinely unique product and it’s a great way to use food that might otherwise be wasted.
“Every time we’ve released one of these sours in the past it has been a sell out in just a few days, so we know customers love the story of transforming rescued food into an entirely new product.”
SecondBite is an organisation that both Coles and Local Brewing Co already work closely with. Steve Clifford, SecondBite Chief Executive Officer, said it was exciting to see the two come together for a common goal.
“We couldn’t be prouder that two of our partners have collaborated to create a product that closes the loop on food waste and provides an opportunity for customers to give back with every purchase,” he said
The partnership has also been celebrated by its first fruit supplier, Rombola Family Farms. Fernando Rombola said over his seven years supplying watermelons to Coles, he’s seen a significant increase in sustainable agriculture and food waste reduction.
Fernando said: “This is super important for us – sustainability is not just about the environment, it’s financial sustainability, it’s sustainability for our people and sustainability for the land, if we are not looking after our land, how are we going to be able to reap the rewards from it?
“If this product is successful, we’d definitely like to see this as a different stream; the more sustainable we are, the more we can grow more with less hectares, which is what we are always trying to do.”