Montreal company aims to reduce waste by making beer from old bread
Loop Mission is dedicated to finding new uses for unwanted or unsold food
Beer is sometimes called liquid bread because of its basic ingredients (grain, hops, yeast and water), but it's not every brewery that actually makes the popular beverage from stale bread.
Loop Mission is a Montreal company that bills itself as a promoter of the "circular economy," which in this case means finding ways to reduce waste by putting surplus food to use.
It's not so different from the projects that focus on saving ugly fruit and vegetable — another avenue Loop Mission has explored with cold pressed juices made from unsold produce.
David Côte, co-founder of Loop Mission, told CBC Montreal's Daybreak that the company has now set its sights on manufacturing beer, and will be ready to roll out their product next week.
"We try to take the big amount of food waste out there in the industry and find a way to create value out of it," he said.
Côte said he drew inspiration from a Vermont brewery that created a beer called Toast made from fermented bread.
The process is surprisingly easy, said Côte, because the bread acts as a natural substitute for the grains — often malted barley — used in the traditional recipe.
Grocery stores often send bread back to the bakeries before it officially expires, so there's plenty of unwanted bread to go around, said Côte.
"There's 750,000 loaves of bread that get thrown away every day in Canada," he said.
Rather than see it thrown in the trash, Loop Mission struck a deal with a local bakery, offering to take their overstock and unsold bread and turn it into something new, a sour, tangy beer.
He said the bread they get is regular sliced bread, which they crumble up to start the fermentation process.
"We take about 1.5 tonnes every time we brew a batch," he said. "If we were taking big loaves of bread, or baguette or things like this, it would be harder."
Côte compares the beer to kombucha, adding that the beer currently comes in three flavours: Strawberry, cilantro lime, and ginger.
"You won't notice the bread. You won't taste like French toast or anything like that," Côte said.
It's also not as alcoholic as regular beer, weighing in at about 3.5 per cent alcohol.
Each can contains about 75 per cent of a slice of bread, he said. Their goal is to keep fiddling with the recipe to add even more bread content.
The product launches officially Nov. 7 and will be available in a few bars, restaurants and grocery stores to start.
With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak.