Optimist Beer set to raise £5000 for Real Junk Food Project

Did you know that there's a beer out there that's been brewed using leftover bagels from Bagelman?

If you're a craft beer, Bagelman or general Brighton Foodie enthusiast - probably. But if you're hearing it from us for the first time, let us fill you in.

The story goes that Bagelman MD, Anthony, and Craft Crate founder, Chris, met Andrew from Franklin brewery for a beer. Anthony wanted to reduce the amount of bagel waste that inevitably happened each day and wondered if turning it into beer would be one way of doing it.

In June 2016, Bagelman and Franklin Brewery announced a partnership: Optimist Beer

Why 'Optimist' over 'Bagel Beer'? Well, as Anthony has explained in the 10:10 video below that delves a little more into the environmental and social impact of the beer, 'Optimist' came from the 'bagel folklore': "an optimist sees the bagel, and a pessimist sees the hole." 

But, also, as Optimist has grown, it's started working with other companies in the bread business - they've got a Belgian style wheat beer, in collaboration with the original bread waste crusaders, Toast

Whilst knowing that our beloved Bagelman has been brewed into beer is a good enough story to talk about, the Optimist team have recently made a decision that's made this an even more important beer brand to support. 

They've teamed up with the incredible charity, Real Junk Food Project, to brew the excess bread from their collections into beer and donate 10% of its profits to their 'pay as you feel cafe'.

They're expecting to raise over £5000, a much-needed donation for a charity who are doing so many amazing things for our city.

 Adam, Founding Director of the Real Junk Food Project Brighton, and Anthony, MD of Bagelman and Optimist Beer Co.

Adam, Founding Director of the Real Junk Food Project Brighton, and Anthony, MD of Bagelman and Optimist Beer Co.

For those new to the Real Junk Food Project, they serve wholesome meals using surplus food from supermarkets, allowing those with little or no money to eat a decent meal.

This winter, demands for the charity's services are expected to be at an all time high following the introduction of Universal Credit, which has left entitled beneficiaries without payment for up to six weeks. The immediate funds generated by the partnership will help to cover some of the costs needed to meet this surge in demand.

In their press release, Anthony, Bagelman and Optimist Beer MD said, “We are passionate about creating a better future for the people of the city, and this partnership with The Real Junk Food Project does just that.

“As part of our continued goal to have a positive impact on the city, we will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in early 2018 to help increase our brewing capacity and introduce a canning line - the first such facility in Sussex. This will also enable us to help more breweries reduce their environmental impact by using cans instead of bottles.”

Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project Brighton, added: “We feel very excited and proud about the Real Junk Food Project and Bagelman partnership. It means we are able to save even more food from going to waste and also educate more people about our ethos. Bread is the most wasted product in the country due to vast amounts of overproduction. The Bagelman collaboration allows us to work with more companies, helping to redirect their surplus into this initiative.  

“The partnership also means an added financial security for us. The work that we do in Brighton and Hove involves huge running costs and the 'pay as you feel' donations that we receive unfortunately do not cover these costs. The partnership is a win-win for us because it feels like we are being rewarded for the huge amounts of work that we do in the city, addressing food waste and feeding the community.” 

In a very short period of time, this collaborative beer company have made some great steps towards not only reducing food waste, but supporting a local charity who are making a real difference to those in need in our city. So next time you see an Optimist Beer in the fridge at a bar or an off license, give it a try.

Cafes run by the Real Junk Food Project can be found at three locations across the city:

  • St. Luke’s Church in Queen’s Park
  • Hollingdean Community Centre
  • One Church on Gloucester Place

Written by Pippa Moyle, who's waiting patiently for Optimist to start brewing with Bagelman's gluten free bagels.