A multi-national brewery group has unveiled new plans to expand regenerative barley usage across its brands in the UK, Finland and France.

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC), part of the Carlsberg Group, is to work with UK farmers to support “regenerative agriculture techniques”.

The CMBC has committed to 100% regenerative barley for Carlsberg Danish Pilsner by 2027, and for all its UK brands by 2031.

An initial group of 23 UK farmers will grow an estimated 7,000t of regenerative barley during 2023.

Elsewhere in its operations in Finland, partner farmers are supplying regenerative barley to Sinebrychoff, a Carlsberg Group company for its annual KOFF Christmas Beer while in France, Kronenbourg SAS already has 45 partner farmers supplying traceable ‘responsible barley’.

CMBC that its regenerative programme will include limiting soil disturbance and chemical usage, planting multi-species cover crops and implementing effective crop rotation practices

Ben Taylor is managing director at Iford Estate in East Sussex, one of the farms involved in the regenerative barley project.

“It’s great that Carlsberg Marston’s recognise the benefits to biodiversity and ecosystems services of farming regeneratively and are actively rewarding those farmers who use these techniques,” he said.

“I hope that this is the start of a long-term partnership.”

Laurence Cox, sustainability lead at Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company, said:

“We’re excited to support British farmers to ensure our barley continues to be sourced from UK farmers for our UK-brewed brands, and going forward, using regenerative techniques.

“The partnerships we have established to deliver this programme are critical, and we will continue to collaborate closely with local farmers, traders, maltsters, agronomists and NGOs [non-governmental organisations] as we continue our transition to regenerative barley.”

CMBC has rolled out the initiative in partnership with farm consultants and agronomists Ceres Rural.

The collaboration enables farmers to implement the new practices, while measuring impacts on soil, biodiversity, and carbon emissions.

Alice Andrew, associate partner at Ceres Rural, commented:

“Agricultural systems vary hugely across the world due to climate, soil type, crops grown, scale and technology – therefore adapting the approach across markets is essential to success.

“Government and industry support for farmers will help scale these practices – from expert advice and facilitating peer-to–peer learning to gathering local data to give more farmers confidence to adapt new practices.”