What do you get when you cross a chef, a brewer and an innovator? The answer is a tasty, low-impact beer.
Citizen Beer is the lovechild of a new collective set up by a group of foodies and aims to reduce the amount of surplus food going to waste.
Co-founders Ben Bayly from Ahi and The Grounds restaurants, Mike Sutherland from Sawmill Brewery, Andrew Fearnside from Wild Wheat, and food innovator Donald Shepherd are working together to bring positive change to the food industry.
“At Citizen we give food a second life in a sustainable way,” says Ben Bayly.
“We’re as serious about tackling food and resource waste as we are about good food and drink.”
After discovering that New Zealand’s most wasted food item was bread, the group put their heads together and drew up a plan to rescue fresh bread as close to its best before date as possible to use as a key ingredient in craft beers.
Every can of Citizen beer uses the fermentable starches from surplus bread – bread that would otherwise have gone to waste or to low-value stock feed.
“It’s not every day you get to create a tasty craft beer and fight food waste in the process,” says Mike Sutherland.
“Brewing with bread was a challenge. It’s taken us a few months to create Citizen’s distinct and unique flavour. We use one-quarter less virgin malted barley, which in turn saves energy, water and carbon emissions.”
The collective is also taking things one step further and using a by-product from the beer to make high-quality spent-grain flour.
This is then used by Andrew Fearnside from Wild Wheat Bakery uses this to make bread, completing Citizen’s ‘bread into beer into bread’ circular food system.
“We love the concept of using something that would normally go to waste to create a unique artisan bread.
Citizen’s spent-grain flour is rich in protein and fibre and low in carbs, giving a delicious malty flavour to the Citizen sourdough,” he says.
“We’re committed to running our business as sustainably as possible, we’re measuring our impact and continuously looking for new ways to improve. And behind the scenes working on more awesome food and drinks. We like to think it’s the world’s tastiest food revolution,” Donald Shepherd says.
Citizen beer and bread is currently available at Farro Fresh and beers are on tap at selected bars and restaurants in Auckland and Hamilton. It will be distributed nationwide from August.