The Weird Way Guinness Is Using Its Extra Beer

One of the great food-related setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic involves all the beer that went to waste when law-abiding bars closed down for a few months. The draft beer that would ordinarily have been supplied to these bars had nowhere to go, with only a limited shelf life. While a certain amount of draft beer would have been poured into growlers for to-go sales, much of it just wound up having to be dumped out.

There were, however, certain brewers that got creative with their surplus stock. Some beer — including, according to Parade, all of the entries for the canceled World Beer Cup — was converted into hand sanitizer. But leave it to the folks at Guinness to come up with a unique, and truly "green," way to recycle their product. While you may have been unable to enjoy a pint of their famous stout this past St. Patrick's Day, it might be helping to make another holiday bright come year's end.

Guinness is being used to grow Christmas trees

Once the bars began shutting down, Guinness offered to pick up its untapped kegs — an estimated several hundred thousand of these, according to the Press Association. So what did they do with all of that beer? According to Aidan Crowe, the director of operations at Guinness's St. James's Gate brewery in Dublin, Ireland, "Basically what we do is we take all the keg beer back and we decant it and we disperse the product through a number of environmentally sustainable routes." While a certain amount of the beer was converted into bio-gas, Crowe stated that "the vast majority of the beer goes to willow and Christmas tree plantations," where it fertilizes the soil.

Who knew? While we're all aware that beer can be healthy for humans (at least in moderation), it turns out that trees may also enjoy a few pints now and then. And, in an interesting circle-of-life side note, Food & Wine reveals that it's even possible to turn pine trees back into beer! Well, doesn't that just put the jolly in your holly? Unfortunately for the trees (but less so for the rest of us), now that bars are reopening again, Guinness has ramped its brewery production back up to serve thirsty people instead of creating fertilizer. Still, if your Christmas tree seems to be leaning just a bit more than usual this year, don't blame it on the base, since it may just be the booze!