Change is brewing: How one business saved 50,000 beers from being wasted in just one year

Over 50,000 beers have been saved from wastage with savings of over £75,000 being passed onto customers thanks to a new innovative business model developed by ‘The Green Bottle Shop’ in London. The Green Bottle Shop, that partners with over 30 British breweries including Siren Craft Brew, Thornbridge Brewery and London Beer Factory, buying surplus beers at discounted prices to then pass on to its customers, is today celebrating one year since its launch in April 2021.

The UK throws away over 40 million pints a year on average and during the pandemic, many breweries, especially small and medium-sized breweries, struggled to match demand with supply of their products leading to even more beer being wasted with almost 90 million pints wasted in the first year of the pandemic alone. This spurred former brewer Adam Hartnell into action to try and minimise wastage by founding The Green Bottle Shop.

Commenting he said, “It breaks your heart to see beer going to waste and I’ve seen it throughout my whole career. During the pandemic, the levels of wastage within the industry went through the roof but there are a million other factors outside of a brewery’s control that unexpectedly pop up and stop sales. Our model is really simple. We take absolutely incredible craft beer that the brewery can’t shift while it is still super fresh, long before its best before date, buy them at a fair but discounted price and then pass the beers and discounts onto our customers.”

Duncan Carter, Head of Sales at Siren Craft Brew who partner with The Green Bottle Shop added, “The Green Bottle Shop has been great. Ours, like all businesses in this sector, work with a degree of surplus stock so teaming up with them has been extremely helpful”

Ed Cotton, the Founder of London Beer Factory “It’s been a really positive experience working with Adam and the Green Bottle Shop. What they do is really unique. It ticks a lot of boxes and is clearly gaining traction amongst the craft beer community”.

The business has saved its customers over £75,000 in the first year of operating with beers being sold on average at least one pound fifty cheaper than they are sold on the brewery’s online shops.

But more than saving customers money, the business model also helps save the environment as well. By diverting the beers from being wasted, the business has saved 25,000kg of carbon, that’s the equivalent of driving over 200,000km in an average-sized car.  All the beers are also packed in ‘Pulpsafe packaging’ made of recycled paper and water which is recyclable, compostable and biodegradable. No plastic is used at all.

Hartnell commented on this saying, “We are facing an environmental crisis and we all need to do our bit to address this. You don’t have to drastically change everything in your life to make a difference, for our customers one of the things they’ve chosen to do is to drink beers that would otherwise have gone to waste. I really believe that if we want people to change their habits we have to do it one small step at a time. Encouraging people to make these small changes will amount to big big things. That’s what we try to do at the Green Bottle Shop.”

On the back of a hugely successful first year, Hartnell is now looking for investment to grow the business to partner with more breweries. “We have more breweries knocking on the door than we can handle, but we’ll have the capacity to help them all very soon. And we know there is a huge customer base for these beers out there because it’s totally a win-win no brainer situation, special offers on cracking beer whilst helping small businesses reduce waste. That’s why we are looking to bring in an investor who can grow our business with us over the coming months”.

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