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It can’t be brew

21 July, 2023

It’s an exciting week for climate conscious beer lovers, as Gipsy Hill, a south London based brewery, has released what it is claiming are the first ever carbon negative beers. 

At Good Business, we approach any carbon negative claim with a healthy degree of scepticism because there is no defined standard for a ‘carbon negative’ product. But in this case, Gipsy Hill have achieved their emissions removals without offsetting and performed their calculations in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Standard, the gold standard for emissions calculations. They’ve even published an emissions report detailing the calculations behind their work, and although we have some questions about some of the underlying life cycle assessments used, the calculations are, on the whole, broadly sensible and transparent.  

How have they done it? The base barley for the beers is grown by farmers from our friends at Wildfarmed, an organisation that works to ensure crops are grown in a manner that protects both biodiversity and the land used to grow the crops (while also ensuring farmers are paid fairly). Through regenerative farming techniques, the way the barley is grown means it sequesters more carbon than it produces. Combine that with Gipsy Hill’s in-house process that allows them to recapture hops otherwise going to waste to max out their use, and you have yourself a sustainable beer. They even have a “perfectly imperfect” line – 10% off those cans that got a little dented along the way.  

While the average pint of beer has a carbon footprint of 350g of CO2 equivalents, Gipsy Hill’s Swell Lager and Trail Ale have carbon footprints of -30gCO2e and -40g CO2e. The business is not yet calculating its own carbon footprint, as would be best practice, but they’ve committed to work on doing that too. 

So, if you’re lurking about in South London and want a guilt free(ish) beer, then head on over to Gipsy Hill, and if you’re further afield, check out their online shop. 

By Rosie Serlin

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