7 Bridges Brewing: Crafting Sustainability and Social Impact in Vietnam | Vietcetera
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Jun 17, 2024
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7 Bridges Brewing: Crafting Sustainability and Social Impact in Vietnam

Zooming in the "afterlife" of byproducts from the brewing process.
7 Bridges Brewing: Crafting Sustainability and Social Impact in Vietnam

Source: Khooa Nguyen for Vietcetera.

Saori Ushimi, a Japanese national with a profound passion for environmental science, has carved a unique path in Vietnam's business landscape, merging environmental sustainability with entrepreneurial innovation.

Her journey began with an academic foundation in Environmental Science from the University of East Anglia in the UK, which equipped her with the knowledge and drive to address pressing environmental issues.

“Hop-ping” Into Craft Beer From Environmental Science

Following her studies, Saori worked as an environmental consultant, a role that set the stage for her subsequent involvement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). For nearly a decade, Saori was deeply engaged in various environmental projects in Vietnam under JICA.

These experiences not only deepened her understanding of Vietnam's environmental challenges but also underscored the importance of sustainable development and community engagement.

Source: Khooa Nguyen for Vietcetera.

In 2017, driven by a desire to address environmental and social issues through business, Saori transitioned from a governmental office to the craft beer industry. “Everyone was surprised when I said I would jump into a startup business,” Saori recounts.

“But I wanted to challenge myself to prove that a business can have a greater impact on social and environmental issues.” Under Saori's and her co-founder’s leadership, 7 Bridges Brewing Co. has undertaken several initiatives aimed at promoting sustainability and social responsibility.

“Brewing” The Byproducts To Life

“We attempt to upcycle everything from the brewing process. There are many byproducts during the brewing process, such as spent grain, spent yeast, spent hop, and unsellable beers. We can use everything,” she explains. Barley Spent Grain (BSG) is drawing more and more attention due to its health benefits.

BSG, the squeezed malt waste after extracting sugar water to make beer, is typically dumped or used as livestock feed. Rich in dietary fiber, BSG helps maintain bowel health and lower cholesterol levels.

Additionally, it contains a significant amount of protein and various phenolic compounds with antioxidant properties. The fiber in BSG also acts as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Source: Khooa Nguyen for Vietcetera.

BSG is just one byproduct, but 7 Bridges has developed many products from the brewing process, such as Brewer’s Vinegar from unsellable beers, moisturizing soap from spent yeast, and antibacterial soap from spent hop.

7 Bridges is well-known for NY-style 50-cm pizzas, and the pizza dough also contains BSG. The Dragon Chili Sauce, which adds great flavor and spiciness to the pizza, is also made with beer vinegar. All the bread made in their taproom contains BSG, and their homemade pickles are made with homemade beer vinegar.

Saori is passionate about expanding the range of products using these byproducts from the brewing process.

“It’s Not What We Brew, But What We Do.”

“In Japan, we always respect ‘craftsmanship.’ We always think of any possible ways to recycle and reuse to reduce waste. Especially what the brewery produces during the process, it’s like a treasure trove; there are so many high-quality products we can produce while reducing waste,” Saori says.

Now, she focuses on expanding “crafted” products in-house. “My dream is to serve customers all crafted food and beverages made by us in-house. We want to craft everything possible using all these great byproducts. The challenge is big, but the opportunity is tremendous. At least we have all the great materials! I believe the market is also maturing to welcome more responsible businesses. We always say, It’s not what we brew, but what we do.”

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