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Could making soap from craft beer help the sector reduce waste?

White Pine Bath & Brew, which creates vegan soap with out of date beer, is expanding its reach, raising the question — why aren’t more companies doing this?

Image @whitepinebathbrew via Instagram

White Pine Bath & Brew founder Elaine Kinney revealed in local reports that after setting up the business in Maine during the pandemic, she has since expanded its portfolio to feature 16 different beers from 11 breweries across the state and aims to broaden the business further.

Kinney explained not only is beer “good for the skin” but it also brings added benefits “due to the brewer’s yeast and hops it contains”. Plus, according to Kinney the “amino acids in hops sooth irritated skin and the brewer’s yeast has several essential vitamins”.

Kinney said: “There are so many incredible entrepreneurs in southern Maine. I saw these people creating their own dream jobs and opening small businesses that became major hubs for the community.”

To be of benefit to both the environment and also the local area, White Pine Bath & Brew has since engaged in fundraising initiatives, partnering with school districts and Peace Ridge Sanctuary to give back to the community.

The goal of the business revolves around “sustainability and reducing waste” said Kinney who explained that “by accepting short-fills and past-date beer from local breweries, White Pine Bath & Brew contributes to a eco-friendlier and more sustainable ecosystem for all involved”.

She explained: “What was once excess beer destined for disposal now finds new life as a valuable ingredient in a soap-making process” and revealed how “craft beer also contributes to a luxurious lather, enhancing the overall bathing experience”.

According to Kinney, each soap design starts with a theme, which guides the selection of a beer from a local brewery that complements the concept” before additional ingredients such as “fats and oils are combined in precise proportions, determine essential characteristics such as soap hardness, cleansing power, conditioning properties, and lather”.

Additionally, “to ensure pH balance, all recipes undergo verification through a soaping calculator system,” she observed and revealed that White Pine Bath & Brew’s upcoming release, Spiced Chai, captures the essence of a cosy autumn evening.

Kinney added: “The soap incorporates Oktoberfest by using a Märzen-style lager from Rising Tide Brewing Co. enriched with ground nutmeg for exfoliation and cocoa butter to moisturize and shield the skin from dry autumn air.”

Contrary to expectations, Kinney pointed out that the soap doesn’t carry a beer scent, as fragrances are derived from carefully selected combinations of added oils and also reassured “there is no risk of intoxication, as the soap-making process, which involves boiling the beer to remove alcohol, leaves no traces of alcohol in the final product”.

The business, which answers both a consumer need for more conscientiously-created natural products in place of plastic-container shower gels on the market and Aldi gives breweries the opportunity to achieve sustainability goals. Which begs the question: Shouldn’t more beer producers be considering this path towards a more eco-conscious future?

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