Food technology startup Probicient has partnered Brewerkz to launch the world’s first probiotic beer that’s good for your gut and overall health.
In 2017, researchers from the National University of Singapore hit the news for creating a beer containing probiotics. It was a novel idea – a gut-friendly beer with good bacteria that was beneficial to the human immune system like those in cultured milk drinks – that was still in research stage.
Probiotic beer is now a reality. Those NUS researchers – Associate Professor Liu Shaoquan and Dr Alcine Chan Mei Zhi from the NUS Department of Food Science and Technology – started food technology startup Probicient to develop and commercialise their probiotics technologies, and has partnered pioneering Singapore craft brewery Brewerkz to launch its first-ever commercially probiotic beer.
Probicient, backed by venture firm Origgin Ventures who pumped in more than $1.5 million for research and development, drove the project from nascent stage to clinical trials to consumer tests with Brewerkz with the entire journey from lab to table taking over two years.
The Brewerkz Red Billion Probiotic Raspberry Sour is the result.
The Brewerkz Red Billion Probiotic Raspberry Sour contains at least one billion CFU (Colony Forming Units), the minimum amount considered to be an effective probiotic.
“Probiotification of alcohol beverages is a major technological challenge. These beverages contain many intrinsic antimicrobial compounds such as ethanol, organic acids, and hops that impair the growth and survival of probiotics.,” shared Claire Huang, Chief Executive Officer of Probicient.
“Our IP lies in the technological breakthrough that ensures the probiotics’ survivability while maintaining the traditional methods of beer brewing,” Huang shared. But it’s not exactly plug and play – Huang explained that different beer styles and fermentation methods require a bespoke approach for incorporating the probiotics
But Probicient’s timing may be fortuitous. Shifting consumption patterns worldwide indicate a preference towards health and wellness, as evidenced by recent trends towards NOLO (no-alcohol, low-alcohol) beverages. “This can help drive the global probiotics market, including demand for our probiotic beer,” said Huang.
“As a non-dairy probiotic drink, the probiotic beer would provide consumers with a healthier drinking experience without discernible compromise on the beer’s taste profile and be a good fit to the trend of functional beverages,” added Associate Professor Liu Shaoquan from the NUS Department of Food Science and Technology, and co-founder of Probicient.
Aside from the debutant raspberry sour, Brewerkz will expand its range of probiotic beer flavours over time including canning and making them available for sale at major supermarkets and online channels.
“We are also open to other brewing partners both local and international to incorporate Probicient’s IP into their brewing processes, and expand on our range of probiotic beers,” said Probicient’s Huang.
Brewerkz will officially launch Brewerkz Red Billion Probiotic Raspberry Sour at all Brewerkz outlets on tap from 1 March 2022.