After brewing our 2018 winter beer with juniper berries and spruce needles, we had a lightbulb moment: what if we could stop people throwing away their Christmas trees by re-using them in next year’s batch of Winter IPA? We would be making something beautiful out of all those unwanted Christmas trees, creating something people could enjoy throughout the year, and helping the environment into the bargain.

We knew we had stumbled upon a great idea, and as we started looking into the subject, it became clear just how many trees are bought and sold as purely disposable items: 2.5 million real trees are discarded every year in the Netherlands alone. It seemed like a colossal waste – and one that we could do something about.

Thus our Tree to Table project was conceived. However, through our research we also realised just how many of the Christmas trees that we routinely buy are treated with chemicals or fire retardants that render them unfit for consumption. Sadly, this means that this year, many people who want to donate their Christmas tree to us will find that the tree they bought isn’t suitable.

So, we’re starting small and thinking realistically, with the aim of growing Tree to Table into something big. This January we expect to be able to source about a quarter of the trees we need to make the next batch of Winter IPA from your donations – whatever we can’t collect from recycled sources, we’ll buy from our trusted supplier.

In the coming year, we’ll work hard to raise awareness about the possibilities for recycling Christmas trees, so that come December, more people will choose a Christmas tree that’s suitable for brewing with the intention of handing it over to us after Christmas. Our ultimate goal? To create a Winter IPA made from 100% donated spruce trees sourced from all over the Netherlands – and beyond.

Of course, we need your help to make this dream a reality. Next year, think about lightening your environmental footprint by choosing a sustainably grown tree that hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals and artificial decorations. You might want us to convert your tree into a tasty beer; you might want to do something else with it. Either way, we’ll be on hand with information and inspiration for how to give your tree a second life after Christmas.

As for this year, you can still get involved in our Tree to Table project. By reserving a place at one of our Tree to Table Botanical Brewkitchen dinners, or putting your name (and your money) down for a limited-edition gift set or a bottle of Botanical Brut, you’ll be helping us to make the whole project happen. We hope we’re sowing the seeds of something big, and we can’t wait for you to be part of it.