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Can Saltwater Brewery Help Usher in a Sea-Change With Edible Beer Packaging?

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It's the ultimate way to save animals and recycle brewers' spent grain: using the husks and grist of brewers' barley to make biodegradable and edible six-pack rings that hold cans of beer.

(Maybe restaurants along Hollywood Beach should look into this now that an obscure law banning non-biodegradable packaging east of Intracoastal — that no one's abiding by — has been brought to light.)

Now it looks like a company called Entelequia Inc. has teamed up with Delray Beach's Saltwater Brewery to create a packaging solution that is friendly to the ocean and the environment as a whole.

"An estimated one million sea birds and a hundred thousand marine mammals and sea turtles become entrapped in plastic or ingest it and die," marine biologist Mark Tokulka said about the scourge of plastics in our seas. A report by the NCEAS Marine Debris Working Group at UCSB estimated the amount of plastic waste going into the ocean to be at eight million metric tons per year.

In the past few years, the market trend in beer has been toward a packaging solution by PakTech which involves big thick packing clamps designed to promote recycling and be tough for animals to accidentally ingest. It is, however, still made of plastic, and it can sometimes prove difficult to get a beer off the pack.

With what this manufacturing company is promising, plastic packaging for beer may become a thing of the past.

“It’s a big investment for a small brewery created by fishermen, surfers, and people that love the sea,” Peter Agardy said in a promotional video about the new rings. These types of environmental causes are not new to the brewery, either: they are constant champions of the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida, the Surfrider Foundation, and the Ocean Foundation’s SeaGrass Grow program.

Now, as their president Chris Gove says, they "hope to influence the big guys" in the beer industry to make a bit of a sea change. "For us at Saltwater Brewery, giving back to the ocean and protecting it is part of our brand mission and way of life. But if these edible can rings could be implemented on a larger scale, think of how game changing that would be and how many ocean lives it would save." 

Check out the spot by New York ad agency We Believers below, and see the pitch for what these South Florida companies are trying to do.

Doug Fairall is a craft-beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers. He is a Certified Beer Server and has been a homebrewer since 2009. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.

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