Producing beer from bread surpluses
The original Lion Brewery of Totnes closed in 1926. It was revived in 2013 as New Lion, and is firmly rooted in the Totnes community, supporting local events and businesses with special brews and collaborations. They partnered with Vessel Beer Shop, Hops & Crafts (Exeter) and maltings tap house (Newton Abbot) to produce the hugely popular Devon Independent Bottle Shops (DIBS) IPA. The New Lion Brewery supplies pubs and shops in Totnes and surrounding areas with various beers specialities.
The New Lion Brewery makes beer from unsold bread in bakeries and bread not used by sandwich makers. This practice has been inspired by the Brussels beer project (BBP) in Belgium and by Toast Ale in London. Inspired by an antic recipe inherited by Sumerians that made ‘Sikaru’ beer from bread, BBP brought up to date a ‘Babylonian beer’ which innovative process and beers crossed the Channel to inspire some new UK breweries.
According to Toast Ale, it’s estimated that almost 900,000 t. of bread are wasted every year in the UK (44 % of all bread produced in the UK).
Use of unsold bread and unused pieces of bread as beer ingredient contributes to save till 30 % of malted barley. Malted barley has become a sought-after commodity that small breweries can not always find nearby. Furthermore, sourcing local malted barley might be much more difficult.

Resources needed

Brewery skills, brewer equipment, marketing

Evidence of success

Beers from the New Lion Brewery met success on the local market and became a recognised actor of the local economy contributing to the revival of the local community. Unsold bread is an available and cheap substitute to malted barley in the brewery process.

Potential for learning or transfer

Bread surplus and waste of unsold bread is a very common issue in many European countries as ECOWASTE4FOOD cross visits have shown and re-use of unsold bread and unused slices of bread is a very low cost technology that enables to save bread from the bin and creates added value through new products.
Such an initiative is favourable to grassroots and community-based projects that are circular economy and community-led oriented and in many countries there is a renewal of local breweries. In that sens its might be supported by local authorities in many territories throughout Europe (inside the project, the Ferrara city refers to this good practice in its action plan built on the exchange with Devon), by informing on this resource-saving technology and by subsidising interested promotors.

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Main institution
New Lion Brewery
Devon, United Kingdom
Start Date
End Date


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