Unless you’ve been cut off from civilisation due to filming the most recent season of Survivor, you’ve no doubt heard about the strawberry hysteria sweeping through Australia. What started as a single needle found in a punnet of strawberries in NSW has turned into a national crisis with reports of contamination coming in from across the country.
Whatever the motivations behind the sabotage, the effects on the strawberry industry are clear. Punnets are being taken off supermarket shelves and a string of copycat attacks has led to a catastrophic drop in strawberry sales. Despite farmers installing metal detectors in their production lines, it will be some time before the industry and the families that rely on it bounce back.
We find it difficult to sit back whilst other farmers fall on hard times. When we saw that truckloads of delicious strawberries were being thrown away, we knew what we had to do. We’ve walked this road before: our Pineapple Sour was made using coloured (over ripe) fruit from far north Queensland. That fruit was destined for landfill due to a change in packaging schedules and we saw an opportunity to create a great beer with a purpose behind it. Despite the more sinister nature of this strawberry fiasco, we wanted to seize this new opportunity to create something good from a bad situation.
With multiple stories such as these hitting the headlines over the past few years and with hard-working farmers losing their perfectly ripe fruit due to economic disparities, we really wanted to help and realised that this might also be an opportunity for Beerfarm to use that produce and make something we all love – great beer! After reaching out to multiple farmers in WA, we started speaking with Dan from Freshcom Traders who work closely with Mal’s Black Label.
Mal’s is one of Western Australia’s premium producers and have been hit hard by the epidemic having to cease trading until they implemented metal detectors. When we said we wanted to buy 1.5 tonnes of strawberries (6,000 punnets) they didn’t believe us. Once we explained who we are and our commitment to reducing waste, they knew we meant business.
So what do you do with 1.5 tonnes of strawberries? Make the world’s largest pavlova? Lifetime supply of jam? Milk every cow we have to make cream for strawberry shortcake? Wait. Gonna need more cows. Fill a bathtub for a riské calendar photoshoot of Tommy? Who are we kidding, let’s make a beer….yeah beer!
Not just any beer— a strawberry, lime and mint Berlinerweisse!
With sweetness from the strawberries, sourness from the limes and freshness from the mint, this sour beer is going to be a flavour sensation made all the more delicious by the story behind it.
Look out for more to come from the Save the Harvest Series as our ongoing crusade to save fruit from perishing and help out farmers in need.
Check out Beer and Brewers’ article about how some other breweries are using surplus Strawberries in their upcoming brews.