How to Dispose of Your Dead Beer for Free

Calling it trailblazing, ReBru Spirits is finding a way to partner with breweries to create their product.

Much like a farmer can take a brewery’s spent grain to feed livestock, the San Diego microdistillery takes out-of-code and overstock craft beer and has started to turn it into spirits, giving new life to dead beer.

ReBru has received excess beer from 21st Amendment, Avery, Boulevard, Great Divide, Kern, Mikkeller, Oskar Blues, Mother Earth, Port, Stone, and Thorn, just to name a few.

The brand’s debut portfolio includes ReBru Spirits Gin, Vodka, and a limited-edition Sweetcane Peppermint Whiskey in 375 ml and 750 ml bottles. Traditional whiskeys are presently aging in barrels for future release.

To date, ReBru has diverted over 180,000 gallons of out-of-code and overstock beer fueled from COVID shutdowns from San Diego’s municipal wastewater treatment, lessening the burden on the facilities and mitigating the potential impact on surrounding ecosystems, including the ocean.

“Consumers are continuing to seek brands with environmentally-friendly production methods and marketing, and ReBru walks the walk,” the distillery said.

Unlike traditional methods of beer disposal, there is no fee associated when ReBru takes a brewery’s out-of-code beer.

“If they bring it to us, we will take it,” they said. “We’ve been able to provide breweries and distributors some relief from something they didn’t plan for (the restaurant/bar shutdown and limited operations) and has historically been costly to deal with.”

Currently, ReBru is only dealing with draught beer since it is available in higher volumes and the demand for disposal is greater.

“We are exploring other systems to deal with smaller packaging but right now the juice isn’t worth the squeeze,” they told Brewer.

Guided by a devotion to sustainability, ReBru endeavors to use every drop of waste that comes into the distillery in Barrio Logan. For instance, the charcoal used to clarify the spirits is from the smoker and wood-fired oven from their adjacent eatery.

Award-winning Master Distiller Neil Lotz employs the exclusive process and a German 1,500​-​liter Kothe still to transform the beer provided yielding a spirit that is further enhanced by the beer’s latent hop oils.

​”This process is brand new and trailblazing, and something like this always has its red tape,” they said. “Nothing that couldn’t be sorted out with the appropriate channels.​”

​That said, ReBru encourages partnerships with more breweries to create more spirits.

Photo courtesy Christine Cole

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