A golden color, frothy, bitter taste: the latest creation of Stephan Fritsch, boss of the Neusselle brewery (in East Germany), looks like an ordinary non-alcoholic beer. But it was obtained without stirring, with just water and a flour with yellow reflections.
“Export only beer flavor without bottles or water”
In an old-fashioned reception room, Stefan Fritsche mixes 50 grams of precious powder with half a liter of water like a chemist. The drink will be ready in seconds. “Without bottles or water, only the taste of beer can be exported,” explains the person who has been collaborating with European labs for 2 years.
The environmental stakes are high: according to him, it will reduce the cost of transporting bottled beer by 90%. “We want to become the first sustainable brewery in the world,” insists the 56-year-old German. According to the “Impact CO2” carbon calculator, 70% of the emissions per liter of beer are due to packaging and transportation.
This saves time because laboratory production is faster than traditional fermentation, which takes an average of two months. With this powder, “everyone can have their own brew at home,” he promises.
At least four months of work before marketing
But commercialization and sales to other breweries or supermarkets still has a long way to go. It will take at least four more months of work – and the help of new investors – to produce a brewer’s powder on industrial scale.
The brewer also plans to export the non-alcoholic version. According to Stefan Fritsche, African and Asian countries will be the main target rather than European countries because it costs more to transport beer there.
The powder must also pass the “Purity Decree” (Reinheitsgebot), a rule dating back more than 500 years, which strictly controls the name “beer” and approved ingredients in Germany, at the risk of stifling innovation. , according to some veterans at the bar.
But Stefan Fritsche says he’s confident, having already fought in the courts to get special manufacturing authorization for one of his brown beers. Eventually, the brewer even dreams of a powdered beer “mega-factory” in the Berlin region. “We know that beer drinkers and craft beer enthusiasts, especially in Germany, will initially be skeptical of our product,” the brewery said in a statement.
A “good innovation”
Beer powder is a “good invention,” but “it will not endanger or upset our traditional breweries,” replied Benedict Mayer, head of private breweries in Bavaria. “Homemade beer powder is not a serious alternative for beer lovers who seek the comfort of bistros,” says Heiner Seeger of the Bavarian association “Beer und Wir”.
Selling powdered beer is not a new idea. In 2016, a Danish brewery announced that it had created four types of powder with different flavors. But there is no trace of this project on their website.
Before that, American company Lipsmark made headlines in 2014 with its strong alcohol sachets. The product was banned in most states and later recalled before it was even marketed.
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