The launch in 176 stores will see the Surrey-based brand double output of its four beers (£2.65 a bottle) that include a zesty sourdough pale ale, a spicy rye thriller and a sweet malty brew made from white bloomers. Now on track for a £1million turnover in 2023, “this is the making and the saving of Crumbs,” say owners Morgan and Elaine Arnell who saw lockdown increase online trade, but hit sales from festivals, markets and delis.
Concern about waste, the UK bins some 44 per cent of loaves made each year, stung the couple, both from blue-chip marketing backgrounds, into starting Crumbs in 2017 helped by a £15,000 crowd-funded raise.
Teaming up with Isle of Wight brewery Goddards for production and local artisan bakery Chalk Hills in Reigate for its surplus stock, their recipe trials showed brewing with breadcrumbs produced the finest pints.
“Both Goddards and Chalk Hills were very open to new ideas. Our distinctive flavours come from using only one type of loaf in each brew and crumbs which are better at releasing the bread’s starches and maximising its contribution to fermentable sugars,” says Morgan who is working on incorporating leftover coffee grounds from the bakery’s café into recipes.
A circular system delivers the waste stock to Crumbs and it is developing its on-trade business with pubs and restaurants, new products with other novel foods and expanding its artisan bakery supply chain.
A search for further investment next year is also likely.
Crumbs secured the Waitrose contract after linking up with its buying team on LinkedIn.
Craft beer sales are up 34 per cent year-on-year at the supermarket chain renowned for its environmentally-aware stand on food production and Crumbs has seen strong sales so far.
“We are always keen to help companies who reduce food waste,” said its beer buyer Louise Witchell. “Crumbs have shown such agility to adapt to the current situation – it’s very impressive. We know our customers are keen to support innovative companies who are not only producing great beer, but making a difference too.