Gipsy Hill Carbon Negative Badges Landscape

Source: Gipsy Hill Brewery

Gipsy Hill Brewery is claiming a world first with the launch of two beers it says are carbon negative without the need for offsetting schemes, such as planting trees.

Swell Lager and Trail Pale (both 4.0% abv) use barley grown by Wildfarmed, a promoter of regenerative practices such as intercropping, cover cropping and reduced tillage, which locks more carbon into the soil than it releases into the atmosphere.

Both beers are made using recaptured hops taken from a fermentation process for a previous batch of beer.

The carbon footprint for a pint of Swell Lager is –40g carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) and –30g CO2e for a pint of Trail Pail, as verified by Zevero, a carbon accounting firm.

A typical lager pint produces 350g of CO2, while craft IPAs can generate 500g CO2e or above, according to Gipsy Hill.

“We have always tried to make sure our beer has a positive impact, and that’s why we have actively sought to introduce new innovations to the brewing process and work with the most innovative producers to push the boundaries of sustainable brewing,” said the brewery’s co-founder Sam McMeekin.

“By truly embedding sustainability into our brewing process, rather than simply offsetting emissions, we have created a blueprint for a sustainable beer range.”

The beers are on draught at Gipsy Hill’s own taproom in south London, as well as The Understudy at the National Theatre, Kerb Street food markets, Seven Dials market and various Youngs venues.

They are the latest in a string of “carbon negative” beer launches over recent years, the most prominent example being from BrewDog, which launched a carbon negative beer club in March 2021.

In spring 2021 it relaunched Lost Lager, profits from which have been pledged to the planting of the Lost Forest, a carbon offset project in Scotland. In its most recent update on progress of the Lost Forest in April, CEO James Watt claimed the company had planted 500,000 trees.