Japanese bakery and brewery fight food waste by turning bread crusts into craft beer

“Bread Weizen” and crusts cut from white bread, one of the ingredients for beer, are seen in the Kokurakita district of Kitakyushu on July 11, 2022. (Mainichi/Emi Aoki)

KITAKYUSHU — A brewery and bakery here have joined forces to develop “Bread Weizen,” a low-malt beer made from bread crusts cut from breads used for school lunches.

The beer, with its bread flavor, made its market debut on July 13. Crown Baking Co. Ltd. in the Kokurakita district of Kitakyushu has partnered with Mojiko Retro Beer Co. Ltd. of the city to reduce food losses with the new beer product.

Crown Baking chief executive Hiroki Matsuoka, 37, looked pleased after tasting the new brew. He explained, “The aftertaste is sweet and sweet. It’s only slightly bitter.”

Crown Baking delivers school lunch bread to about 120 elementary schools and middle schools, or about 60% of those schools in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture. On days when schools serve bread for lunch, the company bakes 1,000 loaves in its factory and cuts off the crusts at both ends, resulting in a loss of around 100 kilograms.

Although some is used for animal feed, the rest is thrown away. Matsuoka said he “felt frustrated” that the scabs were thrown away when they were perfectly edible.

This prompted him to check out the Mojiko Retro Beer. Malted wheat – also used in bread – is one of the ingredients in the brewery’s best-selling “Weizen” wheat beer. It was decided that white bread crusts, baked with wheat from Fukuoka Prefecture, would make up about 10% of Bread Weizen.

Konosuke Minematsu in charge of brewing at Mojiko Retro Beer Co. Ltd., left, and Crown Baking Co. Ltd. general manager Hiroki Matsuoka are seen holding a glass and cans of “Bread Weizen” respectively in the neighborhood Kitakyushu’s Kokurakita in July September 11, 2022. (Mainichi/Emi Aoki)

As the use of ingredients such as bread means the drink is classified as a “happoshu” beer product under Japan’s liquor tax law, the brewery had to obtain a new license to make beer. low malt beer.

In the first preparation, around 40 kilograms of bread crusts were added during the malt starch saccharification process to make 1,500 liters of Bread Weizen.

Mojiko Retro Beer’s head brewer Konosuke Minematsu, 46, explained, “By using bread, the flavor of wheat becomes stronger than that of regular Weizen.” He said enthusiastically, “We are able to help reduce food loss, which is a social problem, and also expand our product line.

The box is designed to look like a loaf of bread. Matsuoka said, “We have expanded the range of efficient material utilization. Other places across Japan must be facing a similar problem. We would like to make efforts to reduce food loss nationwide, not just in the Kitakyushu region.

A can (350 milliliters) costs 550 yen (about $4) and 4,000 cans will be sold. In addition to the Mojiko Retro Beer restaurant and Izutsuya department store branch in the city’s Kokurakita district, people can also purchase Bread Weizen from the Mojiko Retro Beer official website.

(Japanese original by Emi Aoki, Kyushu News Department)

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