With more and more sober or sober-curious people out in the world, there’s been a subsequent rise in demand for zero-alcohol beers. That’s all well and good for brands like Heineken looking to tap into a new revenue stream and keep up with changing consumer habits, but it’s created an interesting problem: what to do with the excess of (literal) alcohol?
Luckily, it seems like an AB InBev facility in Belgium has hit upon an ingenious idea to make sure the booze from non-alcoholic beer still serves a purpose. They’ve struck a deal with Belgium-based company Ecover to harvest the alcohol removed from the non-alcoholic versions of AB InBev’s Leffe and Jupiter beers for use in a dish soap.
The end result is Ecover’s “Too Good to Waste” detergent, 25 percent of which is composed of the alcohol the multinational brewer might otherwise discard. Instead, it serves as the primary active cleaning agent and preservative component. That means that for once, spilling alcohol can actually help clean up messes rather than create them.
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The collaboration was a product of the Leuven-based brewery, Europe’s largest with a maximum production capacity of 1.2 billion liters per year, felt that they could be doing more with the waste they generate.
“The brewery was asking us what can we do with the alcohol, because it’s piling up, it’s a large quantity, that’s why we were looking for partners,” says AB InBev’s European director of innovation and technology David De Schutter told Reuters.
From the sound of it, things have gone well enough with the dish soap that AB InBev already has its eye on ways to reuse other brewing byproducts like spent grains. The hope is that they might be able to work with partners to turn it into a trendy plant-based meat, feeding an ever-growing audience of people more sustainably.
So if you were for some reason concerned that your desire to drink non-alcoholic beer was somehow wasteful, now you can sip with a sense of ease. If anything, everyone else around you pounding beers is really just wasting perfectly good dish soap.
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