Quesnel’s Barkerville Brewing Company is doing its best to reduce waste.
The home of Wandering Camel IPA and Gold Trail Pale Ale found out about compostable beer rings from a social media video a few months ago and decided to see whether it would work for them.
“We thought, ‘Oh, wow, that’s a great idea,’” says sales manager Meghan Lackey, “and then our head brewer Erin [Dale] did some research and reached out to a couple companies that were making them.”
The brewery opted to go with E6PR — Eco Six Pack Ring — a company based in the United States.
According to the firm’s website, their product will degrade in less than 200 days — depending on the eco-system — even if disposed of improperly.
Needless to say, that is a lot quicker than the plastic rings Barkerville — and many other breweries — are currently using.
“We thought it would be really innovative to be the first northern brewery to embrace the trend,” says Lackey, “We wanted to see if we could make this a standard because we believe in reducing waste, and it kills us that those plastic rings we use right now aren’t even recyclable.
“They’re just garbage, and we use so many of them.”
They priced it out and purchased enough rings to package one pallet worth of beer.
“We put together a little pilot project and communicated it to our stakeholders and our customers through social media,” Lackey says.
“We wanted to ask everyone to try them out and let us know what they think so we know if they’re good enough to roll out on everything.
“The last thing we want is to put this expensive new thing in place that we think is great but then in the field, beers are falling all over the pace and not making it home, and the liquor store employees think they’re a huge pain in the butt.”
In the early going, they have received almost unanimously good feedback.
“I’ve been talking to all the liquor store employees that I call all the time, and so far, they have been very positive,” says Lackey.
The trial release was done with the company’s Hurdy Gurdy Hibiscus Pale Ale.
“This is the first time we’ve released that beer in four packs too, so it’s kind of a like a novel two-for-one,” says Lackey. “You get this beer in a new format — they used to come in bombers — with four-pack [compostable] rings, so we thought people would be quite excited to try that.”
Moving forward, they need to make a decision soon on whether they are going to roll this out to their entire product line.
“I’m just working on a survey that I can post, so that I can collect more feedback,” says Lackey. “If we make a decision to roll out on everything, then we’ll place an order for a year’s worth of the toppers because that’s how we can get the best price break.”
The Hurdy Gurdy Hibiscus Ale with compostable four-pack rings is now available in liquor stores in Quesnel, Prince George and Williams Lake.
Try it out soon and give Barkerville Brewing Co. your feedback. To answer the survey, visit surveymonkey.com/r/F6GGJ79.