Exclusive Interview: Anushka Purohit, Co-Founder of BREER – Pioneering Sustainable Brewing, Shares her Entrepreneurial Journey from University Project to Award-Winning Success.
In an exclusive interview with Anushka Purohit, the visionary mind behind BREER, we delve into the origins of this innovative food upcycling startup and explore its journey in creating sustainable solutions within the brewing industry. From humble beginnings as a university side project to earning accolades like the Forbes 30 under 30 list and winning the HKUST-Sino One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition, Anushka shares insights into the challenges faced, memorable experiences, and the future vision for BREER.
我開始BREER的私人啟發是嘗試在我們的城市，甚至是我們的更廣泛的世界每天都在戰鬥的巨大食品廢棄問題上創造一個小缺口。我真的從未想過它會變成現在的樣子 - 它最初是大學的一個有趣的側項目（我必須說，這也是一個與我的商學院朋友出去玩的機會），現在是我的一種產生收入，創造影響力的熱愛。
What inspired you to start BREER, and how has it changed over time?
My personal inspiration to begin Breer was an attempt to create a small dent in the massive food wastage problem our city, and unfortunately, our wider world, battles every day. I genuinely never imagined that it would become what it is today - it began as a fun, side project in University (and to be honest, an opportunity to hang out with my Business School friends) and is now a revenue-generating, impact-making passion of mine.
我最隨機的經驗是一個在後台的經驗。當我們從面包店和餐廳收集餘面時，有時我們無法使用所有收集的面包來釀酒。為了避免這些面包被浪費，我們與一家當地的佛教餐廳合作，捐贈面包片，並贊助香港老年人的食品盒。我最隨機的經驗是在星期六早上去幫助分發，看著一條快樂的老年人隊伍來領取它 - 他們明顯不飲酒，或者對酒精行業了解不多，但他們會告訴我他們認為這個想法多麼驚人。
Can you share a memorable experience from your journey with BREER?
My most memorable experience is one that is a bit behind-the-scenes. When we collect surplus bread from bakeries and restaurants, unfortunately, there are times where we are unable to use all the bread that we collect to brew beer. To ensure this does not get wasted, we work with a local Buddhist restaurant to donate the bread slices alongside sponsoring food boxes to the elderly of Hong Kong. My most memorable experience is going to assist with the handing out on a Saturday morning and seeing a line of happy elderly members coming to collect it - they obviously don't drink beer, or know much about the alcoholic industry, but they would tell me how incredible they think this idea is.
有時候，平衡一切真的會讓人感到壓力，但我認為真心深處，我絕對愛著與BREER有關的一切。這是我的快樂之地 - 即使在最艱難的日子，我都會想到我能創造的影響，並用這種驅動力繼續前進。
How do you balance work and personal life while running BREER?
It can sometimes be really overwhelming to balance everything, but I think it really helps that deep down in my heart, I absolutely love anything and everything related to Breer. It is my happy place - even on the hardest days, I think of the impact I am able to make and use that drive to keep going.
Can you introduce BREER, including its name, mission, and what sets it apart?
Waste is not waste until you waste it - Breer is a food upcycling startup that collects unsold, uneaten, surplus bread and uses it to brew local craft beer - from pineapple bun beer, pizza crust beer to white bread beer - you name it, we brew it! By replacing all of the 78% of barley needed in a batch of brew with bread acquired free of cost, Breer introduces a novel taste of beer in the market that is sure to leave everybody wanting more.
我的榮譽讓我記住，只要努力並產生影響，就會吸引更多的個體加入我們的行列。對我來說，BREER的主要成功是我們所創造的影響 - 到現在為止，我們已經從香港的面包店和餐廳免費獲得了16.2噸的面包，避免了廢棄。
Can you share some key milestones or successes that BREER has achieved in its mission to reduce food waste?
My accolades remind me that hard work and generating impact will always invite more individuals to join the cause. For me, personally, Breer's key success has been the impact we have made - to this day, we have saved 16.2 tonnes of bread from going to waste, all acquired free of cost from bakeries and restaurants in Hong Kong.
啤酒是用3種主要原料釀製的 - 78%的麥子，13%的蘭花，和9%的酵母。當釀製BREER時，我們只是用面包替換所需的78%麥子，我們從香港的面包店和餐廳收集的面包。釀酒過程的其餘部分完全相同！我們突出的原因是我們的晶瑩的可持續性焦點。
BREER has a unique approach to creating beer, using surplus bread. Can you explain how this process works and what makes it unique in the brewing industry?
Beer is brewed with 3 main ingredients - 78% barley, 13% hops, and 9% yeast. When brewing Breer, we simply replace the 78% of barley needed with bread that we collect from bakeries and restaurants around Hong Kong. The remainder of the brewing process is exactly the same! We stand out because of our crystal-clear sustainability focus.
我真的相信BREER加速了我需要學習事情的速度 - 無論是人力資源管理，業務知識，還是行業曝光。當我們最初開始時，我只有19歲，就在法定飲酒年齡的一年後，為可持續飲酒的事業奮鬥。自然，人們會感到緊張。
As a young Co-founder, can you share some of the challenges you've faced in starting and running BREER and how you've overcome them?
I truly believe Breer accelerated the rate at which I needed to learn things - whether it is people management, business know-how, or industry exposure. When we first began, I was 19, just one year past the legal drinking age, championing the cause for sustainable drinking. Naturally, people were apprehensive.
我們希望能夠擴大我們的足跡，超越香港，讓全世界都知道我們是"香港的可持續啤酒公司"。我們也在香港有許多不同的啤酒計劃即將推出 - 我最近的計劃之一是推出我們啤酒的無酒精選擇，讓更多的人可以嘗試它！我們還有一些有趣的配方計劃 - 推出我們的蛋糕 tart cream ale，推出比薩餅啤酒，商業化蛋糕粉啤酒...
What are BREER's plans for the future and your vision for its growth?
We're hoping to expand our footprint beyond Hong Kong so we can be known worldwide as "Hong Kong's sustainable beer company." We also have many different beers planned for launch in Hong Kong - most immediate on my cards is the launch of a non-alcoholic option of our beers so more people can try it! We also have some funky concoctions planned - launching our egg tart cream ale, launching a pizza crust beer, commercializing the egg waffle beer…
What's one piece of knowledge you wish you had possessed prior to launching your business? I wish someone told me how difficult it can be to have your own business. Everything on the outside seems hunky dory, but there are so many small nuances, intricacies and people relationships that you have to manage that I don't think enough people talk about! It's very hard to navigate all of this without experience.