Iconic Japanese brewery Sapporo turns brewing waste into jeans

The Japanese brewery Sapporo Breweries, hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, is trying to attract new customers by launching not a new beer flavor, but a new generation of jeans. To everyone’s surprise, the famous manufacturer has turned to upcycling to convert waste from the brewing process into genuine fashion pieces.

Many industries have been forced to reinvent themselves during – and after – the health crisis, to reconnect with their customers and attract new customers. But no one expected a Japanese brewery, Sapporo Breweries Limited, to start making jeans. It is, however, the foam specialist’s new niche, which caused a sensation by revealing pieces made from the waste from brewing its flagship beer, as revealed by economic daily Nikkei Asia.

All over the world, beer producers are doubling their inventiveness to add value to their waste. While some have chosen to turn it into cereal bars or biofuels, others have completely reinvented themselves to entice fans… of fashion. This is the case with Sapporo Breweries, based in Hokkaido, which launched the first jeans from waste from malt and the leaves and stems of hops.

The brewery is partnering with Shima Denim Works, a company that makes clothing from bagasse, the waste generated by the grinding of sugar cane, to offer its first jeans. The waste from beer brewing was first transformed into washi, a traditional Japanese paper, from which the spinning and weaving of future denim originated. All from Sapporo’s iconic dark beer, Black Label, which offers itself a great publicity stunt.

Nikkei Asia indicates that the brewery added no fewer than thirty jeans designed according to this method to its webshop in April. Sold at a price of 41,800 yen (almost 300 euros), the Black Label Malt & Hops models generated some 1,600 offers to buy. A promising start that suggests that customers will need to increase consumption quickly – always in moderation – in order to start producing on a larger scale.

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