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Beer set to be poured away in lockdown turned into new Welsh vinegar

The Welsh Cask Vinegar from In the Welsh Wind Distillery.

Award-winning businesses in Wales and Orkney have collaborated to launch a new Welsh craft vinegar made from beer destined to be wasted during the pandemic lockdown last year.

Bluestone Brewing Co, based near Newport, Pembrokeshire, faced the heart-breaking decision of pouring away 3,500 litres of beer when COVID 19 forced pubs and restaurants across the UK to close in March 2020. Help was at hand, however

Following a conversation with Simon Turner from the brewery, Alex Jungmayr, director of In the Welsh Wind Distillery near Cardigan, came up with a novel solution –  turning the beer into a Welsh cask-aged vinegar.

“I was dismayed at the prospect of all this hard work – and beautiful beer – going to waste and was determined to see if there was something we could do to help,” explained Alex.

“Fortunately, I like a challenge, and after I had done some research, vinegar seemed like the clear solution.”

To ensure the final product would be top quality, Alex reached out to the team at Orkney Craft Vinegar, Celtic cousins already well versed in the art of vinegar making.

The small team in Scotland have been making exceptional vinegar for several years. They were pleased to help and provided expertise and vinegar ‘mother’ to get production underway.

In the Welsh Wind sourced oak casks from another Welsh whisky distillery to house the beer as the ‘mother’ worked its magic and transformed the beer into vinegar.

Unlike industrially produced vinegar, Welsh Cask Vinegar is softer and more complex on the palette, allowing uses in both the kitchen and cocktails.

In the kitchen, the vinegar works well in salad dressings and can be used in a variety of other ways, including to bring out flavours in fruit. When making cocktails, the vinegar can be used as an ingredient in its own right, or to create a ‘shrub’ syrup.