Guinness is using their unsold beer leftover from the lockdown to fertilize Christmas trees

Guinness is using their unsold beer leftover from the lockdown to fertilize Christmas trees

Beer is too precious to waste! So they're sharing its goodness with the environment.

Beer is a drink so precious that even a drop must not be wasted. Living by this principle is usually not that hard, but 2020 is no ordinary year. With a lockdown enforced in countries across the world, pubs had to bring down their shutters and bars had to stay closed for long. And the very thought of all those unused kegs of beer makes some of us shudder.

Since it would be blasphemy to throw all that beer drown the drain, Guinness came up with a great way to repurpose all the leftover beer they had during the lockdown.

Because of the pandemic, the Guinness brewery at St James’s Gate in Dublin had to do something it has not done in a century. The brewery hit pause on all its usual operations and only did the bare minimum so that they could maintain yeast stocks. The last time Guinness had to do something like this was during the Easter Rising rebellion back in 1916, according to the Independent.


After the lockdown was enforced and pubs had to shut down, the company got back liters and liters of stout beer and ale from these pubs. Now that they repossessed millions of liters of beer, the people at Guinness decided to use the leftovers to share the goodness of beer with the environment.

As part of an environmentally friendly forestry project, Guinness put to use around hundreds of thousands of unused kegs of beer to fertilize Christmas trees! What better way to spread some cheer with kegs of beer?

The director of operations at the brewery, Aidan Crowe, spoke about how it was important for them to support their on-trade customers; right from the start, they did what they could to ensure these customers were not hit badly by the pandemic. To do this, they went around collecting beer that would have otherwise gone to waste. 


"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 told PA, as quoted by Independent. "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."

Crowe added that once Guinness gets hold of the unused beer, "we decant it and we disperse the product through a number of environmentally sustainable routes."

This beer would then go on to the plantations as nourishment. "The vast majority of the beer goes to willow and Christmas tree plantations, it’s used as nutrients in those farms," Crowe went on to say.


With many pubs and bars closing their doors to customers, there was so much beer leftover that Crowe admitted he would "probably cry" if he had to calculate the exact amount of the drink that was returned. Although he did not have a number at the time, he said, "it’s hundreds of thousands of kegs and we’ve still got some products to decant and we’ve still got some markets that haven’t finished returning their beer to us. So a lot of beer and a lot of kegs."


Trying to make the best use of the leftover beer in different ways, Crowe added that they only used some of it to produce a bio-gas that could be a "suitable fuel source." To make the bio-gas, some of the beer was "diverted through to anaerobic digesters" and eventually, it can be used in future operations of the brewery itself. Crowe added, "we’ve also diverted some of the product for composting."

With their unused beer fertilizing Christmas trees, Guinness is definitely helping us ensure that the season to be jolly will help us end this rather weird year with some joy and healthy-looking trees.

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