Singapore start-up Probicient launches world’s first probiotic beer with national craft brewery Brewerkz

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AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
Probicient rasberry sour

Biotech research company Probicient and Singapore’s oldest craft brewery Brewerkz have introduced the world’s first probiotic beer to the market.

The new beer, ‘Red Billion’, which comes in a rasberry sour flavour, is currently available at all Brewerkz outlets, and is predicted to be on sale in other major national and international breweries and microbreweries very soon.

As Probicient’s first brewing partner, Brewerkz invested around SG$1.5M into developing specific fermentation methods which can be used for the successful probiotification of beer.

Creating a probiotic beer using traditional brewing techniques is no simple feat as beer usually contains several antimicrobial elements, such as ethanol and hops, which makes it difficult for probiotics to survive in the drink.

By creating a successful pairing of unique strains of bacteria with patented fermentation using their evidence-based research, Brewerkz and Probicient have developed a product containing around one billion colony forming units (a group of viable microorganisms), which is the minimum amount needed for a probiotic to be deemed functional.

Probicient was established as an offshoot project from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS), Department of Food Science & Technology, and private equity angel firm, Origgin Ventures, which supports and commercialises early stage tech start-ups.

The past few years have seen a significant increase in demand for better-for-you and low and non alcoholic beverages. According to research published in 2021 from the International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR) Drinks Market Analysis, the total record of sales of no/low-alcohol drinks is now predicted to grow by over 31% by 2024.

Probicient believes its gut-friendly beer is set to perform well as a product which meets the demand for health and wellness as well as social drinking experiences.

Liu Shaoquan, co-founder of Probicient and associate professor from the NUS Department of Food Science and Technology said: “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,”.

If ‘Red Billion’ proves to be a success, Brewerkz hopes to continue developing new flavours with Probicient, and eventually stock them in major online retailers and supermarkets.

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