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Beer yeast feeds a healthy value-creation cycle

Beer yeast feeds a healthy value-creation cycle

Recycling by-products and contributing to the protection of our environment are high priorities for Asahi's Sustainable Development Goals agenda. One of Asahi Group's strategic aims is to reinforce ESG initiatives that enable the circular economy and support our sustainable value creation.

By its nature, beer represents the embodiment of a circular economy. Beer is made from natural ingredients, and most of its spent materials can be re-used in various ways, maximising their value. For example, yeast - a key element in beer - is a versatile component lending itself to different uses once it has outlived its purpose for beer brewing.

Asahi has a long and successful history of re-inventing the use of the yeast and repurpose it to create additional value for consumers and society. The company has always been at the forefront of innovation in this area. For instance, the start of Asahi Group's brewers' yeast extract research dates to 1889, when the Asahi group was established, looking at ways to make use of yeast extract efficiently as an ingredient in condiments, animal feed, and agricultural materials.

A pioneer and visionary of its times, the company worked on developing drying technology that protects the nutritional value of the yeast and technology that removes impurities from the yeast such as the compounds that cause bitterness. The manufacturing technology was established in 1927, and in 1930 Ebios - a brewers' yeast medicine (nowadays designated as a quasi-drug) - was launched.

Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, Ebios is a product which is still much loved by Japanese people of all ages. Rich in vitamin B1, B2 and B6, amino acids and minerals that help digestion, Ebios stimulates the appetite and increases the function of intestinal lactic acid bacteria, alleviating gastrointestinal issues.

Another area of development of yeast recycling is the production of fertiliser made from the cell walls of leftover yeast, for which Asahi Group established its research and technology development in 2004. Since 2017, Asahi has developed and manufactured agricultural materials from brewers' yeast cell walls. The fertiliser made with this material is environmentally friendly and allows less usage of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Since 2018, Birra Peroni, the Italian subsidiary of the Group, has been testing in use the new agricultural materials in partnership with the University of Perugia.

At Asahi, we will continue our innovation path, aiming to provide solutions to social issues through ESG initiatives and creating new value by making good use of materials and technology.

Beer yeast feeds a healthy value-creation cycle
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