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Toast Ale: delicious craft beer, brewed from surplus bread

Let’s eliminate local bread waste, raise awareness, and pour profits into fixing our broken food system.

Photo of julie

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Up to 44% of bakery products go to waste, with over 15 million tonnes of bread thrown away per year in the UK alone. Half of that waste is created before it even reaches the end consumer.  

At Toast Ale our mission is to collect the surplus fresh bread from bakeries, delis and sandwich factories, and brew it into delicious craft beer.  The bread replaces one third of the malt barley required in the brewing process, and 100% of profits are poured back into fixing our broken food system, making Toast the best thing since… well, you know!

We launched out of Hackney, London in January 2016 and have already rescued over one tonne of bread from being wasted. Our beer is also bringing the food waste message to new audiences, highlighting how simple and delicious the solutions can be. We have already expanded to Yorkshire and Bristol in the UK, and have had partnership requests from brewers and changemakers internationally, from Denver, Pittsburgh and LA to Austria and Iceland.

How can we scale the rev-ale-ution around the world?  Already, we have open-sourced our unique recipe online for home brewers, and challenged London Amateur Brewers to experiment with their own versions. Next, we want to build a global network of partners producing and distributing local Toast brews, with profits going to community-based food waste projects.

A story born out of collaboration: Tristram Stuart, our founder and life-long food waste campaigner, saw first-hand that bread was the largest problem ingredient within food waste. It has a short shelf-life and is cheaply produced in large quantities beyond demand: during a visit to a sandwich manufacturer in 2008 he saw 13,000 slices of bread being thrown away in a single day. In 2015 he visited the Brussels Beer Project- who themselves brew a waste bread beer called Babylone - and was inspired to create Toast. The Brussels team was keen to collaborate and open-source, and have supported our journey to globalise the idea of bread beer as a tasty solution to bakery waste in the UK and around the world. 

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Our first idea is to launch international franchises. We would like to conduct stakeholder interviews with 3 interested international partners to: - understand our role as master franchisor from their perspective - what support is needed? - learn about the craft ale market internationally - where are the best opportunities? - gain insights on consumer perspectives on products solving food waste - should our branding be adapted in new countries?

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

If you are a food waste entrepreneur: What would enable you to join the Toast rev-ale-ution and launch your own commercial brew? Any concerns? If you are a franchise: What are your top tips around quality control and franchise manuals? If you're a finance whizz: What capital-raising, crowdfunding or loan sources could you envision for our new, international Toast start-ups? For 100% of profits to go to the fight against food waste, we'll need alternatives to traditional investment.

Tell us about your work experience:

I joined Toast in January to apply my 20 years' retail and category manager experience to this important mission. Our Founder Tristram Stuart is an award-winning author, speaker and campaigner on the environmental and social impacts of food. He founded the charity Feedback and has been recognised with the Sophie Prize, Ashoka Fellowship, and UNEP. Our team includes expertise in climate change policy, food waste campaigning, product design, social media, accountancy and of course... home brewing!

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

How far along is your idea?

  • It’s launched and we’re working on gathering more feedback – it’s existed for over 6 months

How would you describe this idea to your grandmother?

We’d describe our idea as the way in which we would identify food waste entrepreneurs in locations around the world with whom we would agree fair and formal terms with to launch Toast Ale. By combining their local knowledge with our expertise we can collaborate and brew great beer which would be sold locally to raise awareness of food waste and raise funds to help eliminate it around the world.

[Only for launched ideas] How does your idea differ from what you're already doing?

So far all our beer has been brewed in England, led by the London based Toast Team, and sold to British beer fans. However, we know that bread is a key part of the diet in many locations around the world where beer is also popular. We would like to launch Toast Ale in these bread and beer loving countries so that we can use the surplus bread, raise funds both for Feedback and for food waste charities local to the area and continue to raise awareness of the food waste issue.

How is your idea unique to the space?

Toast Ale is the first surplus bread beer business. As well as raising awareness of the issue of food waste, it is also part of the solution, through both using the surplus bread in the recipe and by donating all profit to a campaigning organisation to help the fight against food waste. Our founder has built a network of food waste activists around the world and so we are well placed to identify partners who can take the 'Best Innovative Concept' (International Beer Challenge award 2016) global.

Who needs to play a role in your idea in order to make it successful?

We need passionate, energetic entrepreneurs with local knowledge in locations around the world to help replicate what the London team has achieved to date. They in turn will rely on expert craft brewers, bakers and sandwich makers donating their surplus, distributors, designers, marketeers, accountants, stockists, keen beer drinkers and many more! In order to formalise the franchise agreements to ensure both parties are happy we will need expert help from lawyers.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

1) Volume of bread diverted from waste. 2) Awareness of food waste issues as measured through engagement with social media campaigns, reach of press coverage generated, and surveys sent to online customers and home brewers. 3) Profits raised to support fixing our broken food system, and the impact our charity partners report due to our donations. 4) Finally, we ultimately aim for wide scale industry influence, illustrated by the number of beers on the market utilising surplus as an ingredient.

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

We will continue to grow our UK business as we approach our first anniversary and a key time for gifting and beer drinking. We will also be working hard on preparing for our first brew in the US. We hope to soon agree our first international franchise. We are sure to learn a great deal from this and hope that in sharing our knowledge and experience we will also gain insights about how to further grow our UK business whilst supporting the first of what we hope are many International launches.

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Photo of Yuexi
Team

Hi Julie,  
Your idea is awesome and I love it! I believe that if you could provide what quality condition of surplus bread are acceptable for craft beers would be better. As we also wanna make sure the beers wouldn't cause any health issues while solving this challenge. Cheers! All the best!

Regards,
Yuexi

Photo of julie
Team

You are correct, we do not want ill health over beer!
The bread should be good enough to eat, it's unfortunate that this bread is so often not eaten - so we brew it!

Photo of Dimitri
Team

Hi Julie,

I genuinely love this idea! But my only concern is, are you only going to use "surplus fresh bread from bakeries, delis and sandwich factories", or are you also going to use surplus bread in not-so-good conditions? Does the quality of the bread affects the quality of the beer? Because I'm afraid this solution might not completely solve the issue regarding bread wastage.

Thank you and good luck!

Best Regards,

Dimitri

Photo of julie
Team

Hi DimitriWe have to use bread where we know the ingredients and how it has been treated as we must declare the allergens on our beer bottles for sale.
You're right that our beer alone cannot therefore completely solve the issue, however the momentum we hope to build behind the beer will compel all to do their bit to solve it in many ways. We have also shared our recipe on line so that home brewers can brew their leftovers, in whatever condition they're in - cheers!

Photo of Dimitri
Team

Thanks for your thorough explanation, hope I can find and try your beer when I visit London on Jan 2017! Cheers xx

Photo of julie
Team

Our stockist info is here: http://www.toastale.com/stockists/
check before you fly & enjoy your trip to London, by then we may also be brewing in other countries.....

Photo of Amy Halloran
Team

I love this project! I run a community meals program in upstate New York and we pick up from 2 bakeries a week. Even though we feed 100-150 people a day, just that much bread can be too much. Commodity flour and sugar are so cheap that bakeries make too much on a regular basis, and the emergency feeding network cannot absorb that surplus. Most bread is not what you'd call nutrient dense, and people who are depending on food pantries and soup kitchens are already at risk for dietary diseases. Creating a solution that doesn't put the burden of use on communities that need more nutritious food is terrific!

I also love that this project bridges my two food worlds, and shines a light on the collaborative nature of grains. While writing The New Bread Basket, a book about the revival of regional grain production, I learned how many people go into each slice of bread and each glass of beer. Thanks for developing another channel to help us appreciate everything that goes into getting bread and beer from the ground.



 

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks, @Amy Halloran, for your words. There's more people working on brewing bread into Toast ale too, but this small team are starting a rev-ale-lution (forgive the pun) to motivate the masses to appreciate more and enjoy. Cheers

Photo of Thomas
Team

Hello Julie,

Your work is very interesting to me as it pertains to the pressing issue of food waste. Essentially your idea is taking a very large problem and turning it into something people can come together over. It is known and also restated in your idea that bread is one of the biggest contributors to the problem of food waste. Since bread has such a short shelf life it is important that the bread either gets consumed or redistributed to companies like yours.

You mention that approximately 44% of all bakery products go to waste. This makes me wonder out of that percentage how much of it is useful to you, and if Ale is the only thing you can get out of bread. Even though your idea primarily focuses on the repurposing of bread, it would be interesting to brainstorm and come up with products that could be created with the rest of the leftover bakery products. I understand that you have been experimenting with this product. This makes me wonder what kind of structure Toast Ale is revolving around and how it could be improved for maximum efficiency and ease. I’m interested in knowing if the brewery is strictly focused on toast ale or if it is also brewing other ales to help with the bottom line of the company.

Reading the idea I did not come across anything about the bread getting from point A to point B. When I am reading into something I always have transportation in the back of my mind because it is an expensive part of any business. In terms of transportation it is unclear if there is a structure in place. I imagine you would either have a truck that went store to store or each store would bring you the bread that has been sitting on the shelf for an excess period of time.

It seems as though the next step of this product is to expand locally and internationally. You talk about expanding to the United States and other countries, would you carry out a test in each country before you opened a Toast Ale store? When you do expand to the United States would you be building a brewery just for toast ale or would you be partnering with a preexisting company who is already step up and brewing ales?

Your idea seems to be well thought out and popular in the areas you have been experimenting in. Overall I love the idea, this is a very unique answer to a very real problem. Best of wishes and I hope to see a Toast Ale brewery here in the U.S. very soon.

Respectfully, Thomas

Photo of julie
Team

Hi Devin Hardy Thanks for your thoughts. A surplus bread brainstorm would be great. There's more beyond breadcrumbs and bread puddings i'm sure. And some of our surplus bread sources are actively thinking about other ideas.
Can bakeries make longer loaves so that there is less crust to loaf ratio for sandwich makers to throw? 
We don't own a brewery, we are resourcefully using spare capacity in existing breweries to brew our beer as we expect Toast drinkers to drink our beer INSTEAD of and not in addition to an alternate beer so we don't need more production capacity in total.
Re transport, we have moved to sourcing bread from larger supplies of surplus eg big bakeries or big sandwich makers so that it is one vehicle going to a nearby brewery. 
We will replicate and build on this in the US, won't we, Devin Hardy Madi Holtzman ?! 
Not long now til you can buy a US Toast Ale - cheers!

Photo of Devin Hardy
Team

So enthusiastic about the concept of Toast Ale on a number of levels. Food rotting in landfills is one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and thus to climate change. Any effort that reduces that volume significantly is invaluable in and of itself. There is more surplus bread than even the food pantries can currently take on, so having an alternative form of repurposing it for human consumption is a brilliant way to reduce the unfathomable amount of bread currently going to landfill. 

In addition, by brewing beer from bread, we can actually close the loop of the life cycle of that product and essentially maximize and extend the use of that bread, beyond just one time consumption. After the beer is made, the spent grain can still be used to feed pigs or to BAKE MORE BREAD!! Which thus reduces the demand for virgin grain, and all of the land, water, labor, and inputs that that process involves both in production and distribution.

Finally, raising awareness through a product that is accessible and delicious becomes a point of conversation and convergence for communities that will inspire change at a multiplicity of other levels, and that anyone can get on board with and join the efforts to eliminate food waste globally. 

Can't wait to have Toast in the USA soon! 

Photo of julie
Team

Go, @Devin Hardy - Here's to that!

Photo of Johnboy Stillman
Team

Toast is the future! Amazing team, awesome vision, scrumptious product. Bar none, the best thing since toasted bread! 

Photo of julie
Team

Cheers, Johnboy Stillman . So glad you liked our beer. We're looking for every beer fan to be as passionate as you.

Photo of Brian Tang
Team

Great idea to franchise to scale !  Have you met Michael Norton of the International Centre for Social Franchising? Would be happy to introduce you: http://www.the-icsf.org/ 

Bread runs conducted by food charities like Foodlink Foundation, One Meal at a Time  were an early inspiration for our initiative Be an Urban Food Rescuer... Pokemon Go style! [UPDATE 6/10: Walk21HK CityTech Award Winner!]  - do you use individual volunteers in London for your bread delivery from bakeries? Would be pleased to find ways to collaborate (although we may need to rule the minors out) ! 

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks, @Brian Tang. Do you have a contact in the Kings Cross, UK office you could link us with?
Much appreciated if so.

Photo of Brian Tang
Team

Sorry - have met its founder on his trips to Hong Kong.

How do you currently handle bread delivery logistics? Do you think there is a role of individual volunteers to collect bread from different bakeries to deliver to centralised nodes via Be an Urban Food Rescuer... Pokemon Go style! [UPDATE 6/10: Walk21HK CityTech Award Winner!]  to aid with your logistics and reach? 

Photo of julie
Team

Hi Brian Tang I've since found out a new member of the team has a link to ICSF. We'll get in touch. 
Love pokemon style volunteering - what fun! -  however we need to know where the bread has been and exactly what is in each loaf and so for now we are brewing bread surplus from larger businesses that can provide this information. 

Photo of Brian Tang
Team

No problem! Yes, some approaches are more targetted to larger businesses, like Food Donation Connection. We are generally trying to address the "last mile" of waste by smaller businesses. Best of luck! 

Photo of Bruce Ginsberg
Team

Great idea!  Look forward to seeing Toast Ale grow here in the US!

Photo of Leah Newcomer
Team

What an amazing and potentially impactful idea. Making beer from surplus sounds to me like a very clever and strategic solution to food waste. All for it!!

Photo of Tom
Team

Beer and bread. Two of my favorite things. Add in tackling food waste one sip at a time and it's a real winner. This is a great idea!

Photo of David Laskarzewski
Team

Here in the Denver area, we are preparing for Feeding the 5000 Front Range ( http://www.feedingthe5000usa.org/frontrange/ ) this Friday (10.14) as World Food Day weekend kicks off. Since 40 percent of all food produced never makes it into people's mouths, this is a simple yet brilliant idea on more than one level: in the U.S., bread is the single largest food item donated to soup kitchens and food banks, so much so that it is often either composted or simply sent to landfill. However, beer is loved worldwide and making beer from surplus bread is a wonderful and intrinsic way to share the message of how much food we waste and, in turn, change behavior.

Well done and kudos!

Photo of julie
Team

thanks @David Laskarzewski. I hope we can work together to make Toast Denver happen soon. Hey. @Madi Holtzman ?

Photo of Madeline Holtzman
Team

Can't wait to meet you at Feeding the 5000 in a few days David and talk about how to make this a reality in the Mile high city ASAP!! Look out for an email from me in a few! 

Photo of Jeff Feldman
Team

Wow!  This is a wonderful idea.  I am super excited about this coming to the US.  Hopefully this is just the tipping point of  products and companies created out of respondsible use of resources.   I know my generation wants this kind of "thought first" based compainies.   I hope the beer you make taste great, because of your mission, I will go out of my way to try Toast Ale!  

Photo of julie
Team

Hi Jeff Feldman Thought first - and flavour always. Toast is a good beer that does good. Cheers!

Photo of Robert Gould
Team

This concept of saving bread is a fantastic one. Way to go!

Photo of julie
Team

Cheers, @Robert Gould. Have you tried brewing your own? Our recipe is here
http://www.toastale.com/toast-ale-recipe/

Photo of David Weglarz
Team

LOVE this idea.  I can't stand seeing so much good food go to waste.  AND I think we all need more beer, so this is a perfect solution!  Bring it to St. Louis already!!

Photo of julie
Team

David Weglarz We'll do so as soon as we can. Can you help us?
And meantime you can brew your own leftovers. Here's our recipe: http://www.toastale.com/toast-ale-recipe/

Photo of Janet Nolan
Team

What a great idea ... turning bread into beer.  It's a win win.  Here's to your success!

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks, @Janet Nolan. Cheers to that!

Photo of Julie Goldstein
Team

So cool! Excited about this concept and eager to try the product! 

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks Julie Goldstein 
If in the UK you can buy it online or at our stockists here http://www.toastale.com/stockists/If you're elsewhere then can you help us get brewed near you soon?

Photo of Steve Starr
Team

Love this idea.  When and where can I get the beer?

Photo of julie
Team

Hi, in the UK you can buy it at our our online shop or see our stockists here:
http://www.toastale.com/stockists/
If you're elsewhere then it may be down to your help in making this happen....

Photo of Megan
Team

What a great idea!! Love this concept! 

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks @Megan. Have you tried a Toast yet? Or tried home brewing your own?

Photo of Madison Ginsberg
Team

Madeline Holtzman this is awesome, thanks for sharing!! can't wait to try

Photo of Dana Holtzman Pohlman
Team

I volunteer at a local food pantry, & THERE IS SO MUCH BREAD THAT COMES THRU, it's astonishing!! 
FABULOUS IDEA & CAUSE .. reading about this project makes me thirsty to taste the beer!! GOOD LUCK..

Photo of Madeline Holtzman
Team

After working with many feeding programs, I am constantly astounded by the excess of donated bread that is so significant, there is nothing to do with it but throw it away. This heart-breaking reality has significant environmental consequences, and I am so excited to see such an innovative solution finally emerge! And reducing brewers' demand for virgin grain resources has such significant implications for land preservation. Reducing food waste and preserving land must be among the top social and environmental priorities of our time. Reducing the environmental burden of landfills and their GHG emissions has implications for the well-being of all humans and all creatures. 

Photo of julie
Team

Absolutely, @Madeline Holtzman. Thanks for your support

Photo of Sebastian Schmitz
Team

I head a nice chat about Toast Ale: delicious craft beer, brewed from surplus bread with Julie and this idea totally stuck with me since I come from a family of bakers and know a lot about the surplus-issue we are facing in first-world countries. I would love the idea becoming a success not only in UK, but also in other countries, e.g. here in Germany and I'd be more than delighted to contribute towards that...

Photo of julie
Team

Good to speak to you too, Sebastian Schmitz . Keep in touch and let us know how your conversations progress.

Photo of Emma Holtzman
Team

This is so awesome.  Making beer out of bread that won't be used is such a smart method of ending food waste. This is such a genius idea

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks, Emma Holtzman Smart and delicious. 1.6 tonnes of bread brewed to date -we've got a lot more surplus bread to brew!

Photo of Rose
Team

Amazingly cool, incredibly important to have a scalable solution to bread waste.

Photo of julie
Team

Absolutely, we believe it is. And a delicious one too. Have you managed to try one of our beers yet?

Photo of Shawn RH
Team

Such an innovative idea! 

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks, Shawn RH 
Have you managed to try one of our beers yet?

Photo of Greta Holtzman
Team

This is incredibly smart and going to have a huge impact on how much bread is wasted everyday. Pure genious 

Photo of julie
Team

Cheers to that, Greta Holtzman 

Photo of Chris Danis
Team

Cheers to Toast!  A toast to sustainably sourced craft beers!

This is straight up on some Jesus tip.  Turning (unused!) bread in to tasty craft beer is just like turning water in to wine! haha ;)

Please bring this beer to California!

Photo of julie
Team

Chris Danis - We're working on it, hey, @Madi Holtzman?! Sign  up here to watch our progress:
http://www.toastale.com/contact-us/

Photo of Jordan Garrett
Team

CHEERS TO THIS!!! Cheers to ending food waste in such creative ways!

Photo of julie
Team

thanks, Jordan Garrett 
We love what we do - it's great to be a part of the solution.What else could we do?

Photo of Sidni Weglarz
Team

This is such an interesting concept. I love the idea of taking action against such a huge problem as food waste and making a product that people love!! Talk about making lemonade from lemons! Way to go Team Toast!! 

Photo of julie
Team

Cheers, Sidni Weglarz 
Now, you got us thinking: surplus lemon lemonade could be the next big thing!

Photo of Jill Starr
Team

Love this concept!   We need more ideas and products like this, way to make a difference!

Photo of julie
Team

Cheers, Jill Starr . What surplus do you see that would make products that would you buy? We'll put them on our to do list.

Photo of Patti
Team

Awareness of food waste is so important and unfortunately a new concept to so many people.  Toast Beer is a leader in getting that message out while delivering a tasty product.  Excellent idea!

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks Patti 
A message in a bottle, some might say.

Photo of Bart Holtzman
Team

Love beer.  Love bread.  Hate waste.  It's just that simple. What a great way to quench our thirst and help save our planet!  The best ideas are the simple ones...

Photo of julie
Team

Yes, Bart! So simple. Now scaling this and taking this worldwide to make a change is our challenge. We're up for it!

Photo of Molly McCallum
Team

This is an amazing idea! We need more ideas and products like this that help fight food waste!

Photo of julie
Team

Yes, @Molly McCallum. We're thinking about what we could do with apples, potatoes... there are many options. What would you like to see next?

Photo of Russell Hyman
Team

I believe this is a wonderful idea. While it is only part of the problem, the fact that unused bread given to each customer at a restaurant must be thrown out, represents a lot of bread. But as you have pointed out there are many more situations where bread goes to waster  Making delicious beer out of this waste material and donating the profits to charity is wonderful idea. 

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks Russell Hyman Unfortunately we cannot get to every restaurant to rescue the unwanted bread, but if diners took it home and brewed it..... we've shared our home brew recipe online so that all bread left overs can be brewed.

Photo of Audrey Gould
Team

An outstanding idea. I always wonder what they do at restaurants with all of that left over bread. It will be wonderful to put it to such a good use. Bakeries and  groceries could all be part of this. Can't wait to taste the beer.

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks @Audrey Gould. Bread surplus can be found in bakeries, grocers and sandwich makers - where we are sourcing most of our bread at the moment. You can buy our beer here if you're in the UK. Please forgive the plug:
http://www.toastale.com/product/toast-ale/

Photo of Troy
Team

Very clever and ingenious.  Looking forward to hearing more about this process. 

Photo of julie
Team

Cheers! Sign up here to keep up with the latest. Have you tried one of our beers yet?
http://www.toastale.com/contact-us/

Photo of Julia Koskella
Team

Hi Shengmin , thanks for posting about Toast Ale in the "research" stage. Great to hear you'd like to be involved! Can you share more insights on the trends around craft ale in China? Is there also a parallel acceptability emerging for foods made from reclaimed surplus ingredients? We'd love to learn about new geographies.

Photo of Shengmin
Team

Hi Julia, Toast Ale is indeed a very cool idea. Yining and I shared your story with our colleagues after we visited Julie in July and they all loved it!
China's craft beer market is emerging but still niche. There are a few independent breweries in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing - some of them are international prize winners. Most of them only serve in their own bars and pubs with few selling bottled beer. 
China has always been both a major producer and market for beer, however, with the consumption upgrade, Chinese consumer start to pursue better quality products such as craft beer. It resonates with my own experience as I see more and more articles about craft beer on lifestyle media and imported products on the market.
As for the food made from surplus ingredients I don't see a trend going on right now. However, this may due to there are no products, brands or institutions focus on this area to raise awareness yet. This is also a field that we are currently researching on.

Photo of Julia Koskella
Team

Thanks for your great input, Shengmin! So it looks like telling the story of local bread waste could be an effective route to consumer awareness in China, we'd need to tell a clear story. From my experience, bread is an easy route in to awareness, as everyone has seen first hand how a perfectly good loaf can quickly go crusty and hard! We'd also need to look into cask brewing through partners for starters, if the bottled beer market hasn't taken off yet and small-brand bottles aren't sold in bars or restaurants. We've partnered with a few local brew-pubs in the UK on Toast Ale cask brews in the past 6 weeks so perhaps that could be part of the franchising options when expanding internationally. 

Photo of Laura Deutsch
Team

This is a grest idea and I woild love to learn more about this product.  I love the concept so awesome 

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks @Laura Deutsch. Sign up to our newletter here to learn more and keep up to date on our plans 
http://www.toastale.com/contact-us/

Photo of Michael Wells
Team

Hello, I am from a small town in Maine called Veazie. It’s an extremely small town with approximately 2,000 people. It doesn’t have much, but what it does have is two fairly big neighbors. Orono, which holds the University of Maine, and Bangor, which is the third largest city in Maine. Bangor is a much larger area with more resources and people to provide for the city. Clearly you’ve thought about expansion, since you’ve had interviews with the likes of Vice, NBC, and CBS. I was just thinking about if your company set up shop in my city of Bangor, or maybe even Orono.
There will obviously need to be a system in place for this to work. A way for the bread to be picked up from each location and delivered to every site. I saw that you talked about the initial problem of wasting bread in depth, but do you have a structure in place to carry out your ideas? If not, you could go around to the various bakery’s in Bangor and they should be able to help you out with your problem.
If that doesn’t work, you could look for alternative ways to make your beer here in the United States. For instance, Maine has a large potato crop which most definitely could be used for making beer. Just like bread, potatoes are thrown away and wasted just because they look a certain way. Not to mention that they have to meet a certain standard. Looking different doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in bad shape or inedible. That could be worth looking into if you ever expand your business to Maine.
I was wondering if you’re at all worried about a profit. I read that 100% of all your profits are poured back into fixing the broken food system. If that’s the case, then how are you going to pay for the expansion of your company? With your profits going back to community-based food waste projects, how are you going to pay for the collection of the wasted bread, the production of Toast Ale, and then the distribution of Toast Ale? It just seems to me that is going to cost a lot of money. Other than that I’d be really stoked to see your Toast Ale here in the USA, or even Tater Ale in Maine!

Photo of julie
Team

Hi Michael Wells 
Thanks so much for your thoughts. We hope that one day Toast Ale will be in every town - large and small - and we'll keep brewing until surplus bread is a thing of the past, and surplus potatoes too! We tried a great potato beer in The Netherlands:
http://www.instock.nl/en/product/pieper-bier/
There's lots of examples of great ideas making a change  for good.
We are working on ways we can unlock funds to help us to grow so that we can be more profitable and help Feedback's work. Winning this challenge could help us do that.....!

Photo of Alessandro Costa
Team

This is my fav! I love the taste of the beer and would like to see it elsewhere not only in England but around Europe. I am a keen baker and work in the Food/Beverage industry consulting companies. I immediately loved the idea (#reduce #foodwaste) behind Toast Ale. Reducing waste is not only a concern of few but it is a key issue to improve the environment and give more people a chance for correct nutrition. I hope to help Toast Ale to find other markets where people will unite their expertise to save bread, and make it into a very tasteful drink. Well done and keep up the good work!

Photo of julie
Team

Thanks Alessandro Costa We look forward to your help in launching Toast to new markets - let's keep the conversation going!

Photo of Rakel Garðarsdóttir
Team

I just LOVE this product, people behind it and the theory. Drink beer and save the world. Food waste is a huge problem in the world. Toast Ale uses bread that otherwise would be wasted... and brew this excellent beer. It´s a WIN WIN situation on so many levels. This is how the future must work... that we reuse and rethink the sources we have... ToastAle is helping us to have a brighter future :)  

Photo of julie
Team

Rakel Garðarsdóttir Cheers! Tastes good, does good. Here's to that!

Photo of Leah Lizarondo
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As a co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, I see firsthand how much bread waste we have--to the point that we sometimes flood the market with bread! The quest to find shelf-stability and use for bread is an ongoing challenge and beer is not only viable, it is fun and a great way to start conversations on food waste. Advocacy in your pint glass! 

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Thanks, Leah Lizarondo 
Love advocacy in a pint, we also like to think of Toast as a message in a bottle. 

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Welcome to the Refinement phase Julie! We've added new Refinement questions to your original submission that we'd love for you to answer. Please check out the Refinement Phase Toolkit for instructions on how to answer the new questions and other recommendations we encourage all idea teams to consider in the upcoming weeks.

Refinement Phase Toolkit: http://ideo.pn/2du9sf7

Lastly, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 09/28" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

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Hi Julie, we updated the link to the Refinement Toolkit. Please use this new link instead! https://d3gxp3iknbs7bs.cloudfront.net/attachments/bda1f109-0466-4f8e-9699-1359e406df56.pdf

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Great idea! Also it's very smart to focus on the UK and non-US markets. The craft beer scene here in the US super crowded and the industry not likely to achieve the growth projections that have been published. I did a project for a major beer manufacturer about their craft beer strategy and the smart move is to look at the newer craft beer markets.

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Hi Zubin, thanks so much for sharing your expertise here! We are actually drawn to the US market for a number of reasons: 1) the press there are leaping on food waste innovation stories, we've already been covered by the likes of Vice, NBC and CBS and saw an amazing opportunity to ride the surging wave of interest to get the food waste message out. 2) there's a strong and growing network of food-passionate entrepreneurs and food waste charities ready to plug into. 3) It's the country with the largest food waste problem per capita and we see this as a way to lay the landscape ready for policy change and shift in business/consumption values.  4) We've seen the growing interest and demand for non-standard brews, with a $22Bn craft beer market and predictions for this to grow further. However, we must must be aware of the risk of market penetration, and how that should influence our strategy there.  In your experience, are there any regions within the US that you think have better opportunities? Do you think our environmental credentials could give us leeway to stand out and gain market share? Outside of the US, which markets were you most excited about in your research? We're definitely looking outside the established markets too!

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It is pretty hard to get distribution of craft beer now just because there are so many SKUs and grocers simply don't have space. I wonder if perhaps you perfect the technology (using bread waste to brew beer), you can license/sell this technology to major beer manufacturers who already have distribution. I think you can definitely start with your own craft beer, but to get the impact you want, you may want to see if perhaps a large brewer may want to get in on this.

Brewer's Association (https://www.brewersassociation.org) has lots of good resources on the craft market here in the US. Let me know if there are any resources there that are for members only. I have a membership and can look into what you need.

In general, craft beer drinkers value taste over anything else. I don't think sustainability factors are as big. That being said, one brewer started making it's 6-pack packaging out of seaweed and got lots of press. West Coast is pretty saturated, but there are breweries popping up in places like Birmingham, Alabama. So the trend is moving elsewhere in the country. Just remember that craft beer is significantly more expensive than regular beer, so you are seeing the cities with higher incomes (SF, Seattle, LA, Portland, Chicago, NYC) as the craft beer meccas.

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Thanks Zubin Desai , Madi Holtzman  you might want to contact Zubin for some US market info only he has access to....

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My experience of ordering Toast Ale: I ordered 6 Toast Ales late on Sunday evening. It was a very easy process and I could use PayPal - win, win! I got an email with the order receipt at 18:29 (not long after the order process). I received a confirmation email on Monday morning at 09:54 stating that the order was complete and one at 09:51 stating it had been sent with a tracking number. I received an email on Monday at 15:02 stating that my order had been shipped. I received a text on Monday at 15:41 stating that the order would be delivered in 72 hours. I could reschedule the day of delivery but not the time of the delivery. I received a text (at 07:42) and email (at 06:42) on Tuesday stating that it would be delivered between 09:56 and 10:56 that day. All six bottles arrived neatly packages and in one piece just before 10 am on Tuesday. The label is plain, simple and stands out. It is more expensive than ales on the market but I don’t mind because it is helping a charity and food waste. I do wonder if the price might put off less socially conscious consumers, especially with the high P&P price. Do you have any information on projected demand/price point? One thing that I personally would like to have seen on the email that through my purchase I am making a donation to charity. Even if it was just a sentence, I would like to see it. Maybe on one of the emails mentioned above. Is it possible to specify a specific delivery time as well as date? I am lucky in that I work from home. I don’t remember seeing an option for me to send a Tweet stating that I had ordered Toast Ale to share with my friends on Twitter/Facebook. Was that an option? What foods go well with Toast Ale (so I can do some pairings when I next taste test)? Have you gone down the super club route to promote the brand? Of the 6 bottles I received, 4 have been allocated. 1 bottle is saved for my dad to drink. He is in his seventies. 1 bottle for me - I don’t drink ale but thought it was very drinkable with a good flavour and not too heavy. 2 bottles went to a couple in their 30s (both regular ale drinkers). I will get back you as soon as I receive some feedback. ;-)

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Hi Kate, wow, thank you so much for invaluable user feedback! We love the idea of personalising the confirmation emails, making them social and linking them more clearly to our mission - we will get on that this week! In terms of being able to select the delivery time, I'm afraid that's not possible at the moment as our delivery partner does rounds in their vans that are optimised to minimise driving while they deliver other packages for other businesses. If you're not home at the time they'll come by again another day. For the price, we're aware we are currently within the top end of the market and hope to make efficiency savings in the future as we start brewing at scale to make the product accessible to all. 

Glad you liked your first taste, and look forward to hearing feedback from your family and friends! Toast pairs really well with cheese, and of course...a grainy bread to bring out the malted flavour and bring the taste experience full circle back to bread!  How about those last two bottles, who will be the lucky recipients?

We are meeting with a new friend and expert beer taster this weekend and will let you know their feedback. They were one of the judges at the International Beer Challenge awards last month, where we won the trophy for "Best Innovative Concept", and loved Toast. They offered to provide ongoing feedback on recipe development and taste when they can!

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Hi Julie! Thank you for responding so quickly! The next two beers will be consumed by myself. I will be food matching - all in the name of research!

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Kate Rushton Let us know what you thought of the beer. And your food matching too! 

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It went really well with cheddar cheese and a cox's apple. I am not sure what I will be eating tonight. Maybe a pie?

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An expert beer taster this week suggested Toast would also be perfect with bold flavours like curry - maybe a curry pie?!

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Amazing idea!! Can't wait to try some!

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@Sommers Let us know what you think of our beer when you do. Cheers!

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Fantastic idea! Thank you Madi for explaining this awesome concept! You go girl! 

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@Kathryn Yes, Madi's a star. Go, Team Toast!

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So DOPE!!! One man's trash is another man's treasure! or beer! 

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Cheers, Evan M-g 

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Bring it on...

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Julian Stanley Oh yeah! Cheers.

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How does the beer taste? Does it taste like a stout?

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Hi Amber Matthews Our beer is a pale ale in style. And the toasted bread provides a caramelly flavour that balances out the hops. It's malty and delicious!

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More beer = more bottles/cans?
Any thoughts on how to handle the environmental sustainability aspect there?

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Yes, Mitul Sarkar  we are aware that glass can be an issue. Reusing glass bottles is no longer common practice here in the UK, but we hope by collaborating with other brewers and retailers in future we may work this out together.
A quarter of our brews to date have been in brew pubs where the bread arrives from local sources and the beer travels just a few steps from brewery to bar - we love this!

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Thanks @Ryan. Great points you raise. We are keen to limit the distance the beer travels from brewer to drinker and you're right that hooking up with distributors provides efficiencies for all - and for the planet. 
I have to disagree with you on the use of bread, our beer tastes great and our customers tell us so. But do watch this space for more ideas to brew with surplus in future......!
Thanks for your good wishes.
Julie

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Your idea has a different approach, and a good one at that. The use of leftover bread to make beer appears to be an effective way to reuse the wasted grain. However, logistics for distribution are apparent and the ability to expand your horizons appear limited. The logistics being the more important of the two.
The problem I see in the logistics is distribution. It’s not even a problem necessarily but rather a recommendation. If your company is to expand, I would begin finding small local locations to partner with. Then sell your stock on the shelf and get feedback from the masses. The solution to distribution the stock would be looking into the use of big brand transport trucks for drinks.
This will have a positive impact of on multiple parts of your system. It will allow for the feedback to be taken into account for a better brew. On top of that, the wider distribution of the stock would cause word of your stock to increase. In addition it would have a positive effect on marketing and sales.
The next problem of your system is that you are isolated the use of bread. This can lead to a very plain tasting stock that may get distasteful quickly. To resolve this I would begin to look into other methods of brewing leftover stock from farms. Possibly drying out fruits or vegie and creating a brew from the composite might work.
I will be looking forward to seeing how things develop and expand, best of luck

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As someone who has been obsessed with bread waste for years and never able to think of a scalable solution, Toast Ale is truly one of the most innovative and exciting concepts I have ever heard of! Cheers to drinking away such a significant social and environmental issue!!! 

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Hi TOAST:


I understand you have experts looking at developing a franchise model based on 100% of profit going to fix a broken food system …

I am wondering what you would define that mission as?
And I’m wondering- if the mission is to correct things internationally... if a different kind of Cultural Sustainable Partnership model might work: Briefly it is:


Designed somewhat like your existing partnerships— a brewer joins TOAST and agrees to share 10% or more of profit back into their own community, and 5% to TOAST. TOAST could be the key name in the brand, with the brewer’s or location as the second part of the name, eg. “SF Sourdough TOAST”. TOAST would provide the main recipe, and general information on how to contact surplus sources.


Relaxing the financial constraints on partners would allow this idea to explode! International TOAST brew offs could be ‘The Contest’ of the roaring 20’s! Spin offs and associated products could round out the influence of smart surplus products. This would be a creative and sustainable model based on shared resources, and shared influence and profit.


If I might give a preference here: Please consider the humble original spirt: Brandy, in using our unwasted fruits.

Best, Evelyn

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Hi Evelyn, Thanks so much for putting your thoughts into this, we will be considering a number of franchising and partnership arrangements as we scale and for certain markets your Cultural Sustainable Partnership model is great to consider.  You're right, we use a similar model in some of our current "collaboration brews" as described in our reply to Dan Lewis about Wiper and True.  With the right partners, we're happy to continue partnering in that way. One issue we'd need to work out is how to operate Toast sustainably on just 5% of profits from those brews- the profit margins from brewing beer are not huge, we would need to be very efficient in managing our partnerships, and those partners would need to be brewing at a large scale in order to pay for the staff time Toast puts into each partnership. I'm sure we could work that out. I love the idea of making this a Roaring 20s Contest!  The Great Global Bread Brew-off? (sorry that was a very bad pun about our popular TV show "The Great British Bakeoff" ;)

Our franchise model of 100% profit donation is part of the impact we want to have on the world: we want to show that a new way of successfully and sustainably doing business is possible, pouring profits into purpose. We distribute the profits to local food waste charities, primarily the non-profit organisation Feedback at the moment. This doesn't mean that people brewing Toast can't take out a reasonable salary to sustain their livelihoods and re-invest in the business, it just means we don't distribute profit dividends to shareholders, we re-invest all profits in the cause, and prefer a financing model of repayable loans, crowdfunding or start-up donations rather than equity.  

So there may be a place for both of these options as we go global - 100% profit donation models, plus profit-sharing arrangements with partner brewers! Watch this space...

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Hi Julia:

The 5%- aside from the alcohol content- would be more of a TOAST Family Association fee. Brewers would be aligning with your Brand, Markings, and objectives on sustainable UnWaste, as well as receiving support from TOAST. They would be doing the brewing locally, not TOAST. Sorry if I wasn’t clear on that point. I’m just interested in getting as many brewers, in as many locations as possible, involved. The way I figure it- the individual Brewer, in association with the marketing structure of TOAST, would bring in 30% more buyers- exceeding their financial commitment of 10% to their local community and 5% to TOAST (The Foundation).


If any brewer wants to take up the challenge… I’d also like to see and taste Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, and New York versions of: Cinnamon Maple TOAST!


Game on! Best, Evelyn

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I'm going to share this with my spirit dad who is the founder of St. George Spirits. He may have some helpful connections.

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Wonderful, thanks Amanda! Surplus ingredients can certainly be used in spirit-making as well.  One trend we've been seeing recently is people including whey (a byproduct from cheese-making) in brewing.  Surplus or "ugly" fruit is also an option...

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A super toast for Toast Ale! the resulting beer from giving wasted bread a second opportunity!
Next step: ALL beer should be made out of surplus or wasted bread!!

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Thank you Gaby! Indeed :) We also see potential for fruit-flavoured beers to use "ugly" or surplus fruit to reduce waste on another front...

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Hi Gaby, we met with an independent brewer yesterday who is doing a Toast collaboration brew, and she said she would love to include a proportion of surplus bread in all her brews... so your idea could be spot-on!

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I LOVE this idea! Brilliant!

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I've been in the business of recycling food for almost 30 years, and how to best utilize bread donations has been the #1 topic of discussion throughout the U.S. since day one. Simply put, there's only so much bread pudding and croutons you can distribute before consumers revolt. This incredibly simple, gloriously obvious solution is yet another reason I love the folks at Toast. 

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Oh damn this idea is legit!!! I am going to go and talk to a Wellington brewery about this - what a great idea.

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Hi Dan, fantastic! Thanks so much for your support!  Australia is on our radar as a potential franchise location as craft beer is taking off there so quickly - would you say the same for New Zealand? Any tips you can offer us about the market there, or which are the leading food waste charities which a local Toast brew could collaborate with and donate profits to?

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Craft beer has been taking off for a long time in NZ - now I'd say there are about a dozen breweries in Wellington. Tuatara, Garage Project, Parrot Dog and Baylands are all fantastic examples in Wellington.

I reckon you should talk to KaiBosch as they are involved in hospitality/manufacturing food waste redistribution. eg bread.

I'm not sure about Franchising with anyone of these places - they are all fiercely for releasing under their brand. I'd frame it more as a partnership :) making beer out of waste - together. In other words rather than offering a brand offer a new platform for reaching new customers. ParrotDog for example just did an equity crowd funding raise to go international.

https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/investments/234-parrotdog-brewery

So they may be interested in connecting with wider network via say you peeps :) and doing a collaboration project together.

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Thanks Dan, great feedback. We do have some precedent for collaboration brews if we can find the right collaborative, creative and skilled brewer who believes in our mission. It's part of our impact strategy, as every partner is a chance to engage them in the wider fight against food waste and other parts of their brewing process that can be changed. In collaboration brews so far, a portion of profits are donated to the fight against food waste but not 100% of profits (as the brewer takes a cut), so it's slightly outside of our core model.  Here's an example with the awesome brewers at Wiper and True. They have such a great fan base and they had fun experimenting with our base recipe and coming up with a new iteration called "Bread Pudding"! http://wiperandtrue.com/our-beer/ 

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The toast ale company is a great modern idea. This puts a spin on the idea of reusing food. When you think of reusing food you never think about making a beer out of it. Making a beer out of this has many benefits other than the foreseeable ones. Aiming the target audience to the older generations will have adverse effects on the generations to come. Getting the people hooked on this beer is key to its success. Getting people to relies that this beer is saving food will help selling it to consumers. In times of need and times of prosperity people will always spend money on alcohol. The foundation of this idea is very strong. There will always be market to sell. The key to this idea is getting this brand well known. Once this idea gets publicized the consumers will come. One idea I have for this is to talk to big corporations. Partnering up with big corporations will be very beneficial to this idea. Larger business provide money, funding, research, testing, and approval. This can fix and help the idea expand and become better. Further research into this idea of turning bread into 1/3 of beer could lead to bigger and better things. Eventually it is possible that all beer will be made this way. That would save vast amounts of recourses. The Major problem I see with this is taste and preference. Every person has their favorite beer and they have it just the way they like it. Trying to force this new idea of reusable food for beer could push people away. This would be simply because of tradition and change. Me personally I hate change, once I find something I like I stick with it and never go back. People are also very specific in the way they like there drink to taste, and if that same iconic taste can’t be archived with toast ale there will be a problem. Over all a small controlled taste test should be implemented. If the Toast Ale holds its own in the taste test, then I would love to see it on the shelves of my local stores.

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This is such a great idea, I love the innovation and ability to take the food waste message wider. Feels like potential for exponential growth. 

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Hi Julia Koskella,
Toast Ale is great idea and very innovative. Replacing a portion of the barley malt and substituting it with recycled bread (which we all know has a short shelf life) I found to be a very creative yet simple way to lesson food waste. It was interesting reading and comparing your idea with RISE food recycling. It’s inspiring to see the different ways people are taking on the challenge of lessening food waste and Toast Ale is such a little thing that can make a big difference. Congratulations on your company’s successes and growing this business to new places. I’m curious to see what Toast Ale tastes like with bread over barely and I’m excited to try it sometime, especially if my purchases helps a good cause.

I enjoyed reading your ideas,


-Hannah Butland

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Thanks so much for your feedback Hannah.  Bringing Toast to the USA is our number one expansion priority at the moment so I hope the opportunity to taste won't be too far away for you! If you have links to entrepreneurial, fantastic food waste and redistribution charities in your area which we could get on our radar for collaboration, let us know! Cheers, Julia

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Congratulations on being one of the 40 ideas in the refinement stage. 

In the name of research I have ordered a case of Toast Ale and will be conducting a taste test with friends. I will keep everyone up to date on the findings. :-)

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Hi Kate, thanks so much! We're thrilled to be through to this round. Hope you enjoy the tasting, let us know your thoughts! We love gathering "taste descriptors" for the beer we can use in our communications. Toast was served at the London Urban Food Awards last week and was the most popular beer served on the night... And this week we're hosting a social gathering tasting our newest collaboration brew: a barrel brew of Toast made in collaboration with Temple Brew House. 

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Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

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Hi Julie,

Great idea!!  It is funny that you are using bread to make beer, and that we are trying to encourage people to use by-products RISE- Recycling Food (one is the beer spent grain) to make food ;) Are you transform your spent grain in bread again? You are double looping your ingredients :)

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Hi Bertha, that's great! We've been in touch with our friends Regrained Daniel Kurzrock Nick Hiebert about Brewers' Spent Grain as well. I'm not aware of BSG value-added products in the UK yet but hope we can help spread the idea and bring it here!  So far, we have used some of our leftover brewers' yeast to bake our own bread at home bringing our ingredients full circle... Great if we can try more recipes and link up.

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Julia Koskella , hello there! Bertha Jimenez and her team have been in touch with our team for years--first as students doing research, and now as entrepreneurs. I'm not sure if they have yet considered surplus bread as a feedstock for the marketplace they are working to build, but they should! #DrinkBread #EatBeer 

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Julia Koskella , hello there! Bertha Jimenez and her team have been in touch with our team for years--first as students doing research, and now as entrepreneurs. I'm not sure if they have yet considered surplus bread as a feedstock for the marketplace they are working to build, but they should! #DrinkBread #EatBeer 

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Thanks Daniel Kurzrock  I'm not sure RISE is considering surplus food in their remit, as they seem to be focussed on by-products. But, how about the by-product of leftover brewers' yeast, Bertha Jimenez ?  Or would you consider surplus bread in your marketplace?

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Hi all,

Nice to see you in the conversation... Right now our main focus is the beer, wine n coffee industries... We will definitely think about the leftover brewers' yeast.. thank you for point it out :) The more by-products we could reclaim the better :)