Singapore food-tech start-up Probicient have collaborated with Brewerkz, Singapore’s longest running craft brewery, to launch the world’s first probiotic beer.
With Brewerkz as their first brewing partner and the help of venture capitalists Origgin, a specialist in early stage deep-tech start-ups and venture co-creation, more than $1.5 million was invested into the lab-to-table development of this probiotic brew.
Moving from nascent stage to clinical trials to consumer tests, the beer is now ready for commercial scale-up to breweries and micro-breweries around the world.
To commemorate this milestone, Brewerkz have launched Red Billion, a probiotic raspberry sour beer. The brew is a homage to the red hue and probiotics level of at least 1 billion CFU per serving and is currently available on tap at all Brewerkz’s outlets across Singapore.
Probiotification of alcoholic beverages is a major technological challenge as beer contains many antimicrobial compounds such as ethanol, organic acids, and hops that impair the growth and survival of probiotics.
Innovation ensures probiotic survivability
Through evidence-based research, Probicient’s technical team developed a method to ensure the probiotics’ survivability while maintaining the traditional methods of brewing beer.
Probiotic dosage is expressed in CFU, or Colony Forming Units, which refers to the number of live probiotic microbes capable of forming colonies in a laboratory test.
The company’s IP lies in the technological breakthrough that ensures the probiotics’ survivability of 1 billion CFU, the minimum amount considered to be an effective probiotic, according to ISAPP (International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics). They have also patented the processes’ distinct pairing of unique strains and unique fermentation processes.
According to (ISAPP), probiotics are “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”
Although other live microorganisms may be found in other traditionally fermented food such as kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi, those do not typically meet the empirical evidence level and only certain characterised strains with a scientifically validated health effect can be classified as probiotics.
The company believes that the global shift in consumer patterns towards health and wellness trends, unveiling low alcohol or low-calorie beer as healthier alternatives, will drive the global probiotic drinks market.
As post-pandemic growth takes shape coupled with beer as the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage on the planet, Probicient hopes to deliver consumers a uniquely different healthier beer experience, satisfying both their wellness needs through enhancing gut health and fulfilling their need to connect with others through social drinking.
A spin-off company from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Probicient is looking to bring this novel IP technology to breweries worldwide.
Associate Professor Liu Shaoquan NUS Department of Food Science and Technology, and co-founder of Probicient says “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.”
Over time Brewerkz plans to expand its range of probiotic beer flavours including canning and making them available for sale at major supermarkets and online channels.