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Used our Loaf beer - the best thing since sliced bread

By Sarah Groves, also posted in News on

Adnams has brewed three new beers exclusively for Marks and Spencer using surplus M&S British bread under the name ‘Used our Loaf’.

Triple English Hop Southwold Pale Ale, Earl Grey Pale Ale and Raspberry Fruit Beer are available in selected Marks and Spencer stores and all three beers will be available online at M&S shortly. Adnams has worked with Marks and Spencer for many years now, and we’ve made well over a dozen beers for M&S in various formats.

The Used our Loaf beers are made using surplus bread from the retailer’s sandwich producer. The surplus bread was previously sent for animal feed so wasn’t wasted, but it can be diverted by one more step by being made into a delicious range of beers first! Making beers from bread isn’t new. There’s a long history stretching back at least 4,000 years where brewers and bakers worked collaboratively together. In fact, the first record of brewing here in Southwold dates to 1345 when Johanna de Corby, whose husband was a baker, was charged by the manorial court with serving short measures! We're very proud to work alongside Marks and Spencer, whose business plan and values around sustainability align perfectly with ours.

How do you make a beer using bread?
Bread is made from grains such as barley, wheat and rye, exactly the same raw materials that are used to make beer. Inspired by the brilliant work by Toast Ale, Marks and Spencer and our brewing team pulled together their thinking and experience to create the first beer using surplus bread for a UK supermarket. Our brewery team used around 700 kilograms of surplus bread and added three times as much malted barley to our mash tun here in Southwold to create the first brew. We add hot water to this mixture of bread and barley, which slowly steeps to release fermentable sugars. The sugary water (wort) is drained off using our lautertun, and more water is sprayed over the grains and bread to extract more sugars and the wort is then boiled together with hops in the ‘kettle’. This hopped, sweet mixture is then cooled and yeast added to ferment into beer. More hops are added at different stages to ensure the the perfect level of bitterness and aromas for each beer. After we've extracted all the sugars, the grains, bread and hops (as with all Adnams beers) are sent away to be reused as animal feed so there is no wastage.*

*Fascinating fact: did you know that cows fed on spent grains emit up to 40% less methane than cows fed on grass. Now there's a great pub quiz question for you!

The Used our Loaf beers:

M&S Used your Loaf Triple English Hop Southwold Pale Ale, 3.6%
Ingredients: malted barley, surplus British M&S bread
Hops: Three British hops: Jester, Ernest and Endeavour
Tasting notes: A well-balanced, full-flavoured beer with bright hoppy flavours of gooseberries and citrus fruits.
Buy online at M&S here.

M&S Used your Loaf Earl Grey Pale Ale, 5%
Ingredients: pilsner malt, surplus British M&S bread
Hops: Galaxy and Ella
Other: M&S Earl Grey loose tea
Tasting notes: a refreshing pale ale with a clean citrus burst

M&S Used your Loaf Raspberry Fruit Beer, 5%
Ingredients: malted barley, surplus British M&S bread
Hops: First gold, cascade
Other: English raspberry juice (after fermentation)
Tasting notes: Fruity and refreshing with subtle raspberry notes on the palate.

These new beers are another great initiative as part of Marks and Spencer’s inspirational Plan A strategy, which aims to help build a sustainable future by being a business that enables customers to have a positive impact on wellbeing, communities and the planet. Adnams is a Silver Plan A supplier to Marks and Spencer and the Northamption-based breadmakers Greencore has a prestigious Gold Plan A certification.

You can find out more about Plan A here.


Sarah Groves