Breweries do a lot of good in the world. From brewing delicious beer that makes people happy, to charitable programs and community outreach, craft brewers have been a net positive for society. Now, one New Zealand-based brewery is taking things a step further by implementing a new ecological innovation that could help save their country’s beaches.
DB Breweries is no stranger to innovation. Back in 2015 they created Brewtoleum, which created biofuel out of leftover yeast and beer waste. In 2017, DB Breweries is back with another ecological innovation that will turn packaging waste into a substance New Zealand is in desperate need of: sand. New Zealand’s shorelines are in a perilous position, as erosion caused by the ocean has noticeably receded the once vast beach expanses of the island. Enter DB Breweries, who came up with the ingenious idea to convert empty bottles of their DB Export beer into a sand substitute that can then be used to replenish the shorelines and even build sea walls, which help with erosion.
Now to the details. DB Breweries created bottle crushing machines, called “Beer Bottle Sand Machines,” that crush DB Export beer bottles into beer bottle sand which can then be distributed to local landscape and construction companies to help in their efforts to replenish New Zealand’s beaches. According to AdWeek, the entire process of converting bottle into sand takes about five seconds, which starts with a laser triggering a bunch of beer bottle-pulverizing steel hammers and ends with 200 grams of faux sand for each bottle inserted.
The premise is a good one and definitely has potential due to its crossover appeal between environmentalists and craft beer drinkers. Knowing the small amount of sand substitute that each bottle produces, DB Breweries did a smart thing by partnering with local bars and community hot spots to ensure that there is a steady stream of bottles turning into sand across New Zealand.
So what’s next? For one, DB Breweries is currently in talks on solidifying a two year partnership with New Zealand’s biggest purveyor of bagged concrete, Dry Mix, who can use the DB Export Beer Bottle Sand in their numerous beachfront projects across New Zealand. This would definitely give this program some legitimacy, so I’m excited to see how this moves forward. On a larger note, I am encouraged by what DB Breweries is doing here, as it shows a brewery operation that is very aware of the unique community they exist in, and how they can improve both their brewery and the extended community around it. It will interesting to see if breweries across Europe and the U.S. take note of this initiative and start taking action to positively impact the environments around them. I’m excited at the possibility.
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