Some business ideas just seem to have a momentum and life of their own from inception. The Optimist Beer Co, created as a partnership between Franklins Beer Co and Bagelman, is one of those accelerating business ideas. This is our story so far.
In the space of just a few weeks the spark of an idea has been turned into something real.
Bagelman has been a part of Brighton’s food culture since 1996 when it started as a one-man bagel delivery service. In response to popular demand the first store opened in 1999, since then it has grown into the icon it is today. Inspired by the lively Jewish delicatessens of New York and London’s East End, Bagelman combines this sensory richness with the irresistible lure of a real bagel bakery. Bagelman bakes fresh bagels every day, always has, always will. That’s the brand promise.
But at the end of each day – no matter how careful they are – there’s always a few bagels that haven’t been sold. This story starts with Anthony figuring out how to reduce this waste – and we all know food waste is a growing issue -
According to the latest figures from Wrap we waste 15m tonnes of food annually in the UK and lots of this is bread. 49% of adults say they eat bread every day and 38% buy two loaves a week but Love Food Hate Waste found that 18% admit to throwing away a forgotten loaf before even opening it. This poll marked the launch of the initiative’s ‘Use Your Loaf’ campaign to raise awareness of bread waste.
With all this in mind, Anthony wanted to find a way to turn that negative (bagel waste) into a positive. Let’s find something useful to do with all those wasted bagels. But what and how? Anthony always has his radar on listening for good ideas and imagining ways to change things for the better … and makes no secret of his interest in craft beer. How do you link leftover bagels with craft beer? With a little digging, in March he found out that waste bread could be used to brew beer. Now, being more than a small fan of craft beer, this set off a loud ping on the ideas radar.
Bagelman – baker of fine bagels – craft beer made with leftover bagels – minimising food waste – creating a great product – something we all find exciting.
Chris Drummond from Crafted Crate was a natural first call.
“Hey Dude, I’ve got this idea about turning waste bread into beer… do you know any brewers who might help?”
“Amazing idea, I’m meeting Andrew from Franklins tonight down the Watchmakers, why don’t you come and we can talk?”
“Plan, I’ll be there”
Franklins micro-brewery is nestled on the beautiful, sunny Sussex coast and it is here, with the music turned up loud, that they make their beer. Their founder and head brewer learnt his trade with Sussex stalwarts Dark Star, working his way up to principal brewer there, before realising his dream and starting out on his own. Fun, outgoing, music loving, community minded, Franklins are passionate about creating craft beer with a twist. The vision is to create timeless, quality beers that everybody can enjoy.
Within no more than a few hours Anthony (Bagelman) and Andrew (Franklins) are deep in conversation about creating a beer with bagels. Then the plan gets even bigger and even better. Andrew drops the idea that they should think about a whole 360 degree process -
Brewing creates the yeast to bake the bagels, Bagelman creates the waste bagels to brew the beer which creates the yeast to bake the bagels and round and round and round.
Beer to bagels.. bagels to beer.. or as our mate Jack said last week.. beergels (ha ha)
Now, for a name. There is a famous saying in bagel lore “The optimist sees the bagel, the pessimist sees the hole.” Thus the name Optimist was born – the craft beer that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Bagelman – baker of fine bagels.
Franklins – brewer of fine craft beer.
Craft beer made with waste bread – minimising food waste.
Creating great products – something we all find exciting.
Optimist is a collaborative beer company with a difference. All our beers are brewed using waste bread. Launched as a partnership between Franklins & Bagelman, two local businesses with a vision for creating great products and doing things differently.
What’s not to love about that?!