With bars and restaurants largely closed since Covid-19 came and ruined 2020, there have been countless kegs of beer across the world with no one to drink them. Brewers and bars have been left scrambling to figure out what to do with them before they go bad, and how to dispose of them in an environmentally responsible manner.
While there’s no industry-wide answer just yet, Guinness seems to have hit upon a novel solution that should pay dividends in about five months or so. Specifically, the Irish brewer has used expiring kegs of the world’s most famous stout to fertilize Christmas trees.
As explained to the Independent, Guinness went about collecting as many kegs from its bars, restaurants, and stadiums as possible to prevent them from going to waste. Once they were rounded up, Guinness’ director of Operations Aidan Crowe said that the beer was decanted so it could be “disperse[d]... through a number of environmentally sustainable routes.”
In this case, most of it went to willow and Christmas tree farms, who used the modified Guinness as a nutritious fertilizer for their trees. Some of Guinness’ product was also “diverted through to anaerobic digesters, where it produces a bio-gas” which could serve as a sustainable way to power the brewery at some point in the future. The remainder seems to have been composted.
Obviously, Guinness would rather its beer end up in the bellies of happy customers, but it seems like Ireland’s most famous brewery has made the best of a bad situation for both itself and the businesses it works with. “It’s been a tough time in the brewery but it’s been a much tougher time if you’re trying to run on-trade outlets in this part of the world,” Crowe said. “That’s why it was very, very important right from the start of the lockdown to support the on-trade as much as we could. That’s why we took the decision to bring back all of the beer from the on-trade.”
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Covid-19 has been a tough time for Guinness, with the pandemic scaling back the brewery’s operations to minimal levels not seen since 1916. With Ireland’s bars and pubs set to reopen for table service on July 3rd, there’s at least a faint hope that Guinness can get back to normal someday soon. Thankfully, it looks like Guinness will be spreading some Christmas cheer one way or another.