How to Responsibly Dispose of Unsaleable Beer

Breweries across the country are making plans—and implementing them—for re-opening to customers. But there’s another challenge still lingering from weeks or months of slow (or no) sales: what to do with all that beer that’s past its prime.

As you gear up to brew fresh batches, here are some ideas of what to do to responsibly dispose of unsaleable beer. 

Responsibly Dispose of Unsaleable Beer: Distill Hand Sanitizer

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When a pandemic leaves you with stale beer, you use it to support the production of hand sanitizer. Countless distilleries have already converted to production of hand sanitizer, but fermentation time and capacity are the limiting factors in the process. That’s where unsaleable beer can be a big help.

Remember that you will need to comply with record-keeping and tax requirements. Check with the TTB for more information.

Responsibly Dispose of Unsaleable Beer: Wastewater Treatment

You’ll need to contact your local wastewater treatment facility to find out if you’re able to dispose of your unsaleable beer there. It all depends on their capacity for chemical oxygen demand and biological oxygen demand.

In the event that you are able to dispose of your beer there, you will need to provide the facility with information about the strength and volume of your beer. Then they can determine the timing and rate of disposal. You may need to neutralize the bulk beer to facilitate disposal.

Be sure to follow safety protocols when emptying kegs to dispose of beer.

  • Push beer from kegs with compressed air rather than CO2.
  • If pushing beer from kegs with CO2, perform the operation in a well-ventilated area and monitor concentrations of CO2 to maintain safe levels (under 1,000 ppm).
  • Utilize proper PPE, including appropriate eye and hand protection.
  • Larger drain hoses (1/2″ ID) will decrease drain times.
  • Simple manifolds can be constructed with easily available parts to drain multiple kegs at one time.
  • Avoid “flailing hoses” by adequately securing the drain ends of hoses.
  • Do not exceed the kegs’ working pressure when emptying kegs.

Responsibly Dispose of Unsaleable Beer: Compost

Contact a local composting facility or local farmers to see if they are able to compost your waste beer. Transportation and disposal of packaging (if the beer is returned from the market) are two issues to consider.

Alternatively, a liquid waste disposal company may provide a tanker to pick up and transport your waste beer. Partnering with other local breweries can help you collect the volume of beer necessary to fill the tanker, and also cut your costs.

For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With California offices in Redlands and Newport Beach, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.