Enjoying a pint is one thing, enjoying a pint that’s ecologically and environmentally sound, and that doesn’t charge a premium for it, is even better for quenching the real ale lover’s thirst.
The award-winning Bucks Star Beer was founded in 2015 to offer live, organic unfiltered and unpasteurised beers that get their carbonation purely from brewer’s yeast, with no additives.
Datis Gol runs the Milton Keynes microbrewery, while his brother, Daria, works on building distribution avenues that are focused around the brewery’s Growler Swap system that allows customers to return empty Growlers (one or two-litre high-quality, resuable glass containers) when they receive their next delivery.
It was important to the brothers from the start that an ecological microbrewery was the direction the company should take, making Unfiltered and Unrefined its motto and strapline. The decision not to use additives, particularly isinglass (from fish bladders) gave it not only purity, but also made it vegan.
But probably the most important decision was to introduce Growler Swap, an innovative, zero-waste drinks solution using existing technology and clever thinking to give customers access to the freshest locally brewed beers on the market.
Datis said: “It made no sense that people should pay for packaging every time they made a purchase. They also have to pay, in some form or other, for the collection, disposal and recycling of their waste, and it’s bad for the environment, so we introduced the Growler Swap.
“Growler Swap means that you return your empties when you place another order. Growlers come in one-litre and two-litre sizes and have a screw top, so the beer stays fresh for longer. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into making people aware of what the Growler Swap system is all about and how it works, and we hope they’ll appreciate the benefits of reusing their packaging.”
Customers choose their beers in their preferred size of container, then, when it is empty, rinse it out and return it when they receive or collect their next order. There is no additional charge for the Growler on the first order and once empty, it can be sold back for £1 if the customer wishes. Alternatively, if they choose to swap the empty Growler for another full one, they will receive a 25% discount.
Bucks Star Beer offers its No 1 Pale Ale, Evolve, a real lager, Steenbrugge Belgian Ale, a copper ale named after Copernicus, and Attenborough, an amber ale, through the Growler Swap solution, and has a selection of cans available including a lager and a Belgian amber ale. Its own beers and a range of beers from other local breweries can be purchased at its own Brewery Tap House in Stonebridge, from Tuesday to Saturday each week alongside its home delivery service. Meanwhile, Daria devotes a great deal of time to building avenues to sale through farmers markets locally and in London.
“Now that we are able to have customers at the Brewery Tap House, we want to start building that up,” said Datis. “It will be good to have people back in the brewery, trying the beers, and with organic handmade sourdough pizzas to complement the beers, so they can enjoy some food with their beer while they’re here.
“We are continuing to develop new avenues for retail. A lot of our sales are through markets and events, and hopefully there will be more opportunity for that this year than there has been over the past year or so. And we’re working together with other breweries to support one another too.
“Real ale has always been popular, but there’s also a growing interest in the ecological side of things now, reusing packaging and keeping waste to a minimum is something we all have to start to think about for the future of the planet, so we hope we’ll be able to change people’s values and habits through just doing something a little bit different.”
Find out about Bucks Star Beer at www.buckinghamshirebeer.co.uk or call 01908 590054. The Brewery Tap House is at 17 Twizel Close, Stonebridge, Milton Keynes and is open 10am to 5pm Tuesday and Wednesday and 10am to 6pm Thursday to Saturday.