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Thousands of litres of beer saved from being thrown away during lockdown – by being turned vinegar

A new Welsh craft vinegar has been launched made from beer destined to be wasted during the pandemic lockdown last year.

Simon Turner from Bluestone Brewing Co, based near Newport in Pembrokeshire, faced pouring away 3,500 litres of beer when COVID 19 forced pubs and restaurants across the UK to close in March 2020.

However a conversation with Alex Jungmayr, director of In the Welsh Wind Distillery near Cardigan turned up a novel solution –  turning the beer into a Welsh cask-aged vinegar.

Simon, the director and founder of Bluestone Brewing said: “We were gearing up for a really busy Easter and had just filled our cold store up with a huge amount of Cask Beer,” the director and founder of Bluestone Brewing said.

“When the first lockdown happened, we lost our market overnight. All of a sudden we had nowhere for all of that beer to go and it was a really worrying time for us as a business. Cask Beer has a short date life and so we had to come up with a plan quickly to save it from going down the drain.”

Alex said: “I was dismayed at the prospect of all this hard work – and beautiful beer – going to waste and was determined to see if there was something we could do to help.

“Fortunately, I like a challenge, and after I had done some research, vinegar seemed like the clear solution.”

To ensure the final product would be top quality, Alex reached out to the team at Orkney Craft Vinegar, Celtic cousins already well versed in the art of vinegar making.

The small team in Scotland have been making exceptional vinegar for several years. They were pleased to help and provided expertise and vinegar ‘mother’ to get production underway.

In the Welsh Wind sourced oak casks from another Welsh whisky distillery to house the beer as the ‘mother’ worked its magic and transformed the beer into vinegar.

Unlike industrially produced vinegar, Welsh Cask Vinegar is softer and more complex on the palette, allowing uses in both the kitchen and cocktails.

In the kitchen, the vinegar works well in salad dressings and can be used in a variety of other ways, including to bring out flavours in fruit. When making cocktails, the vinegar can be used as an ingredient in its own right, or to create a ‘shrub’ syrup.

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