Products and services

1664 Blonde, the pioneering beer made using agro-ecological farming practices, continues its transformation

  • Le 16 January 2024

By 2026 in France, 1 in 10 beers will be brewed from sustainable malt.

Since the beginning of the year, 1664 Blonde has been brewed with 50% sustainable malts from the traced Responsible Barley chain, co-created in 2022 by Brasseries Kronenbourg, Malteries Soufflet and Soufflet Agriculture (InVivo Group). The next step will come in 2026, with a 1664 Blonde brewed 100% with malt from this process, i.e. 1 in 10 of the beers consumed in France. This is an ambitious and truly transformative undertaking for 1664 and for Brasseries Kronenbourg, given that it represents 40% of its volumes.

155,000 consumers have already logged on to find out where their 1664 Blonde comes from

Traceability is very important to consumers, who are keen to explore the journey of 1664 Blonde, from the barley field to the bottle. Thanks to a tailor-made blockchain system developed specifically for 1664 Blonde, consumers can use the QR code on the bottles to access a digital platform that traces the beer’s journey from the barley field to the bottle. No other beer on the market has taken its commitment to the agricultural and food transition so far, with such transparency.

Consumers scan the QR code on the packaging with their mobile phone, enter the batch number and are taken directly to the digital application with its various sections. They can find out where the barley comes from and when it was harvested, learn more about how the malt is made, discover the different facets of brewing and the commitments made by the brand.

For 1664 consumers, this is a unique and contemporary opportunity to discover the production process and the expertise of those involved in this sustainable and responsible value chain (farmers, maltster, brewer) through information and testimonials that embody this approach with its far-reaching ambitions , adds Anders Røed, Chairman and CEO of Brasseries Kronenbourg.

Top 3 areas of interest among consumers

  • Commitments to responsible barley growing, water conservation and sustainable transport.
  • Cereal harvesting
  • Brewing: Not only do consumers learn about the various stages in the brewing process, they also obtain precise information about the beer in their hand, such as the brewing and malting dates and the day it was bottled.

This digital traceability solution offers a new way of communicating the brand’s commitments to consumers, in a visible way, for a superior customer experience. The average consultation time among consumers is 2 minutes. The most popular time for consulting and browsing the digital platform is at the weekend (with higher scan rates on Saturdays and Sundays, and in the early evening).

A large-scale project already involving 120 farmers on a total cultivated area equivalent to 3,750 rugby stadiums

This pioneering approach, carried out in partnership with Malteries Soufflet and Soufflet Agriculture, is part of Brasseries Kronenbourg’s commitment to a large-scale transformation of its malt supplies. It is being rolled out with 1664 Blonde, which represents around 40% of the brewer’s volumes and accounts for 10% of the beer market in France.

In 2023, the number of farmers almost tripled compared with 2022
For the 2023 harvest, the traced Responsible Barley chain, jointly developed for 1664, brought together 120 farmers (compared with 45 in 2022), with the aim of reaching 250 farmers by 2026. These farmers are spread across the Grand Est and Burgundy regions (in particular Champagne and Barrois-Côte d’Or) and Brie-Picardie, collecting a total of 20,000 tonnes of barley from a cultivated area of 2,765 ha (compared with 900 ha in 2022).

The traced Responsible Barley chain is part of the Sowing Good Sense sustainable value chain initiative led by the InVivo group.
This initiative promotes the use of crops grown by partner farmers in accordance with strict agronomic and environmental specifications. “The partnership with Brasseries Kronenbourg for a responsible, traceable and sustainable barley-malt-beer supply chain is fully in line with our desire to develop products with a positive impact, driving a genuine agro-ecological transition. We are very proud, along with all our partner teams, to share these values and these strong commitments with Brasseries Kronenbourg”, says Guillaume Couture, General Manager EMEA and Key Accounts Worldwide at Malteries Soufflet. 

Ambitious specifications to guarantee the sustainability and traceability of this Responsible Barley chain

The specifications guarantee the good agro-ecological practices implemented by the farmers and ensure compliance with optimum brewing and aromatic quality, through the selection of the best barley varieties. This makes it possible to : 

  • Preserve the environment and, in particular, promote biodiversity, notably through the proper management of agro-ecological areas, which helps to maintain a rich and varied fauna and flora.
  • Reduce the carbon footprint through controlled fertilisation (based on annual soil analyses), or by encouraging carbon capture and biomass production through cover crops.

The good agricultural and environmental practices implemented in this traced Responsible Barley chain are subject to external and independent control. The farmers who participate in the traced Responsible Barley chain record all cultivation activities, which are then consolidated in a centralised file. Gathering this traceability information makes it possible to:

Calculate and monitor agri-environmental indicators for the sector on the farms of partner farmers, in particular:

  • The diversity of plant species grown on farms: on average, five different plant species will be grown for the 2023 harvest. This diversity, combined with the introduction of longer crop rotations, brings numerous benefits, such as improved soil health and biodiversity.
  • Areas dedicated to biodiversity reserves: 6% of the Utilised Agricultural Area (UAA) with almost 53 km of hedgerows, 236 beehives and 23 nesting boxes.
  • The level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: around 357 kg CO2/T of barley GHG emissions (depending on the region and yield for the 2023 harvest), with reductions facilitated in the field by practices such as controlled fertilisation and the use of multi-species cover crops.

The traceability data generated by the traced Responsible Barley chain can be used to identify areas for improvement, with the aim of further reducing the carbon footprint of the agricultural sector, which currently accounts for an average of 20-25% of the carbon footprint of a glass-bottled beer.

This traceability process doesn’t stop at the field! It continues all the way to Soufflet Agriculture’s storage silos, which then supply the Malteries Soufflet site in Strasbourg, for the production of a sustainable malt that ultimately supplies the Kronenbourg breweries in Obernai (Alsace).

KEY FIGURES ON THE IMPACT OF THE AGRO-ECOLOGICAL TRANSITION (2023 harvest by partner farmers)

  • 120 farmers, 3 times more than in 2022 
  • 2,765 hectares of traced Responsible Barley growing, equivalent to more than 3,750 rugby stadiums!
  • 5 different plant species grown on average per farm
  • 6% of Ecological Interest Areas (EIA) in the form of small hedgerows, wooded strips, melliferous fallow land, etc., equivalent to 1,800 rugby stadiums
  • 53 km of hedgerows, 3.3 times more than in 2022 (16km)
  • An average of 20.6 ha of melliferous fallow land sown per farm, the equivalent of 28 rugby stadiums!
  • 236 beehives (compared with 169 in 2022), i.e. around 7 million bees!
  • 25 nesting boxes and 151 perches (compared with 77 in 2022) 

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