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Delicious beer is the best way to reduce food waste and raise money for healthy food access

Bread waste beer

In the world of food waste, baked goods rule. Breads, bagels, sweet loaves, they all get wasted at an incredible rate. The desire for freshly baked bread, paired with the low ingredient cost, leads to bakers purposely overproducing, and a about 30% of their total production goes to waste. The situation is made worse because hunger relief agencies can't rescue this massive quantity of baked goods. There's such a glut of rescuable bread, and most of it doesn't really appeal to food pantry-goers. And who can blame them? If low-income people at food pantries don't want to eat our leftover bread, that's fine; it's not their responsibility to solve our food waste problem. But then it begs the question: what do we do with all the world's leftover bread?

The Post Brewing Co., Izzio Bakery, Metro Caring, and Denver Food Rescue had an idea: let's make beer!

Penny Loafer-5.jpg

Here's how it works: delicious bread from Izzio Bakery is rescued before it goes to waste (they are such a cool company. Did you know all their grain comes from Colorado??). The bread is then taken to The Post Brewing and shredded, dried, and added to the mash tun, replacing about half of the grain normally used to make beer (The Post is also and amazing company; best. fried. chicken. ever.). The result is Penny Loafer Pale Ale, a light, crushable pale ale with just the right bitterness and yes, notes of toasted bread. 

bread beer

​What happens next is the special sauce of this partnership: we came up with a tricky way to make this partnership financially sustainable for all the partners involved. Denver Food Rescue and Metro Caring help to get the beer sold in local restaurants and tap rooms. One dollar from each pint goes to the two nonprofits, which are both fighting for healthy food access in the Denver Metro Area. But it's not just the tap room who is on the hook to make this donation. The $1 per pint is split between The Post, the retailer, and you, the beer drinker! By spreading the donation around, it gets more people involved and decreases the burden on any one entity. We hope to be selling this beer, reducing food waste, and generating money for nonprofits for years to come!

These are the restaurants and bars in Denver who have committed to sustainability and food security by carrying Penny Loafer Pale Ale. Please support them! If you want to carry Penny Loafer in your establishment, just send an email directly to The Post:

bread beer release party

The release party for the beer reminded me of what this collaboration is all about: community. Yes, we are faced with big environmental and social problems, but our ability to solve them is only a reflection of our willingness to work together. Local business matters. Collaboration matters.


This is just my favorite picture ever of Helen Katich, my co-conspirator on Penny Loafer. She made this whole project happen and is also a Program Manager at Metro Caring. She's also a great friend and just the biggest sweetie ever. Just look at her!!

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