Penticton's Tin Whistle Brewing Company celebrates becoming a zero waste brewery

Beer made with zero waste

Casey Richardson

A Penticton brewery is celebrating their hard work to become a zero waste operation by showcasing a new lager made with leftover ingredients from another local business.

Tin Whistle Brewing Company released their Cherry Blossom Japanese Lager on Monday, a beer that was made with sake rice, known as kasu, from Kizuna Sake.

"We used about two months' worth of their waste to make this beer. So it is a significant amount of their leftover rice that's gone into making this beer and we're really excited about it," said brewery co-owner and environmental lead Alexis Esseltine.

Releasing the beer on Earth Day also marked a big moment for the carbon-neutral brewery.

"We have worked for the past three years to become one of the first zero-waste breweries in the province of British Columbia. That means that we send no waste to landfill."

Everything in the brewery from the plastic pack tech rings to cardboard to the wasted grain has another home and is either reused, reduced, or recycled in some way.

Esseltine said it's important for them as a business and as people who are greatly impacted by climate change to have worked for this move.

"From a beer side and a brewing industry side, our grain has a lot more protein now because of the droughts and the really hot dry summers we're seeing and experiencing because of climate change. More protein-rich grains mean hazier beers and we don't always want hazy beers," she said.

"We are also seeing lower hop yields and hops are another key critical ingredient in beer."

It comes down to protecting their business for the future alongside protecting the earth for their children and the next generation.

While Esseltine worked in sustainability for 15 years, the company also partnered up with the City of Penticton, recycling depots and other industry partners to get to the point they have reached today.

The brewery is not unfamiliar with saving and using wasted ingredients in beer, having released a beer a few months ago made with leftover grape skins from Dirty Laundry Vineyard’s winemaking process. This created the Wasted Grape Gewurztraminer and Merlot Table Beers.

When Tatsuo Kan, who runs Kizuna Sake and Kojo Sushi, approached them with his leftover rice to see if they could anything with it, the brewery jumped on the chance to find out.

"We had actually installed a really small batch brewing system a few years ago. It's a 100 litre brew house so we can brew 100 litre batches, really small batches on it, which allow us to experiment and innovate and try new things," Esseltine added.

She said their goal has always been to make "incredible beer, but doing so in a way that doesn't impact our planet."

"That's really at the core of what our mission was, when Tim and I took over this brewery four years ago, was to prove that you could make incredible beer, but do it very thoughtfully, and in in very environmentally thoughtful way, so that we weren't impacting kind of the community around us and the environment around us."

Tin Whistle’s Cherry Blossom Japanese Lager will be available in the brewery’s historic Cannery Trade Centre taproom in Penticton, as well as in select private and B.C. Government liquor stores throughout the Okanagan.

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