Distillery helps struggling industry by turning stale beer into whiskey amid coronavirus pandemic

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There’s no use crying over stale beer.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, bars, restaurants and venues across the country have had to close dining and showrooms. As a result, a lot of beer that likely would have been sold has been left to go stale.

Fortunately, some distilleries have figured out a way to make sure this stale beer doesn’t go to waste.

After beer goes stale, it's still usable as a key ingredient in whiskey.

After beer goes stale, it's still usable as a key ingredient in whiskey. (iStock)

WhistlePig, a farmhouse distillery, is using stale beer to brew whiskey, Bloomberg reports. According to the news outlet, the distillery is receiving 6,500 gallons of stale beer a day.

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The distillery explained to Bloomberg that even after beer goes stale, it’s still fermented grain. Since that’s a key ingredient for whiskey, the beer is still useable, just not in the way it was originally intended.

The craft beer industry has struggled since the coronavirus outbreak hit, forcing lockdown orders across the country. While people can still order drinks to go, on-premise consumption has basically collapsed. The result is that warehouses have suddenly found themselves stuck with hundreds of thousands of kegs with nowhere to go.

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“We are tentatively calling the project the ‘Great Beer Rescue,’” Jeff Kozak explained to Bloomberg. “And we’ve already had significant interest from brewers and distributors.”

It turns out that beer companies are reportedly willing to donate the stale beer free of cost. Shipping the excess liquid to the distillery is apparently cheaper than dealing with the waste fees that dumping the stale beer would cost. Another benefit is that getting rid of the kegs frees up space in warehouses for cans and bottles, which are much more popular these days.

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“Our route to market has obviously been affected by Covid, but unlike whiskey, beer never gets better with age,” Emily Harrison, WhistlePig’s distillery manager, explained to Bloomberg. “It is the least we can do to help out our friends in the industry and ensure they can continue to brew the freshest beers possible.”