Ocean Beer

By David Lugg

Ocean Beer is not an ordinary beer. It is the culmination of a dream from three surfers in Portugal who wanted to make a difference. Fed up with the increasing levels of plastic waste that littered their beaches, they decided to formulate a plan – to brew a beer where 100% of its profits would fund the clean-up of the beaches of which they surfed.

Their idea was a success and, in 2016, Surf Brewing IPA was born. However, it quickly became evident that their concept had great potential for conservation on an international scale. Plastic waste is, of course, a global crisis not limited to the beaches of Portugal. It is estimated that 8.3 million tonnes of plastic are discarded into our seas every year. To put that in perspective, around 8 million pieces of plastic enter our seas every single day.

The trio reached out for help and found it in the arms of the Ocean Born Foundation – a grant-giving organisation dedicated entirely to ocean conservation. The foundation has been committed to the cause and set about promoting the project on a far larger scale. In December 2020, Surf Brewing became Ocean Beer and a new chapter had begun.

Producing an environmentally friendly beer has proven to be a far more difficult task than first imagined. One of the key issues they faced was attempting to keep a low carbon footprint. If a product has to travel hundreds of kilometres to reach its suppliers then it can hardly be considered to be sustainable. This is not lost on Pablo Martinez, the CEO of Ocean Beer.

“I have made a commitment to brew locally, to continue to reduce our carbon footprint as well as support the local econony. “Indeed, Ocean Beer has just signed an agreement with Nortada Brewery in Porto (who have similar conservation aspirations) and Just Drinks, here in the Algarve.

What’s more, the bottles used for beer production have a high-recycled percentage and their labels are made from recycled paper. Even the beer itself is vegan. But what about the taste? After all, an environmentally friendly beer is of little use if the consumer won’t buy it.

I’m delighted to report that the beer is good – very good. The IPA is full-bodied and fruity with citrus notes. They also produce a lager and an alcohol-free beer. There is certainly no compromise on quality, something which head brewer Fernando Escribano has been very keen to adhere to. Using natural ingredients with minimal environmental impact, his beers are no doubt inspired from his work on food and farming projects in Africa.

So, what does the future hold? It is now possible to buy Ocean Beer in Portugal, Spain, Sweden (as of July) and the UK, with the latter being launched last month on World Oceans Day. More locally, now that an agreement has been reached in the Algarve, you should be seeing a lot more of them in bars and supermarkets.

Ocean Beer may well have been born in a small Portuguese surfing community, but its reach is worldwide. Knowing that all profits go towards beach cleans and ocean conservation, you can drink their beer with a clear conscience. Helping the environment whilst having a beer? I’ll certainly drink to that.


For more about the Ocean Born Foundation’s conservation work, visit the website.


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