Protect Your Plants!

Protect Your Plants!



The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) and the Pesticide Action Network recommend using beer traps – glasses or containers like yoghurt pots sunk into the soil and filled with beer – as one of the non-chemical ways of reducing slug damage in the garden.

Stroud Brewery has teamed up with Wild Stroud (a community group helping people to garden with wildlife in mind) to make our waste beer slops available as natural slug control to gardeners.

Beer slops is the term that describes the beer which is ‘pulled through’ the pipes to get rid of the previous beer when a barrel is changed and to start the new batch. This can amount to about 2-3 bucket-loads each barrel and is usually thrown down the drain. Also, any overflow or drips from filling a glass with beer from a pump are collected in trays underneath and this is thrown away. Plus, some of our beer is Bright Beer, fresh beer that’s only drinkable for a few days after which any unsold is – you’ve guessed it - thrown away.

Wild Stroud carried out an experiment last summer to discover which type of beer gives the best
results. They filled traps with three types of beer:
- cheap lager
- cheap beer
- beer slops from Stroud Brewery’s organic bright beer

The beer slops proved to be far and away the most effective with the greatest slug body count!

You can now collect our proven slug-zapping slops from the brewery’s taproom – simply ask at the bar for a bottle of slug beer and pop a donation in the tin. Or you could also fill your own container from a location in Castle Street in the centre of Stroud. Register first on Wild Stroud’s website to obtain details of where and how.

The slops are stored in 20 litre containers donated by the Greenshop in Bisley which sells ethical and sustainable products. Previously, customers have refilled their own bottles of washing & cleaning products from these containers at the shop but, unfortunately, once empty, they can’t be refilled and are sent away for recycling. Now some of them will have a new purpose locally.

The slops are then decanted into smaller, empty, plastic milk bottles donated to the brewery for gardeners to take away – if you have any unwanted bottles you can drop off at the bar, we’d be very grateful!

Slugs are an important part of the natural eco-system, as they’re food for many birds and animals.

However, many gardeners don’t see them this way!
“There are about 12 species of slugs living in a garden but only 1 or 2 eat plants – which most gardeners don’t realise” said Chloe Cox of Wild Stroud.

She continued “I can understand how the frustration caused by slug damage leads to lots of gardeners just wanting to get rid of them all. But slug pellets are made from artificial chemicals which stay in the soil after the slug has died. Whilst we’d rather not kill slugs at all, by offering an organic natural control, we aim to protect more wildlife in the long term.”

Greg Pilley is delighted that Stroud Brewery’s beer slops will now be helping gardeners to be more organic. “When I set up the brewery, I was determined to brew beer organically so we could make our contribution to restoring and protecting wildlife. Organic farming is the most effective form of regenerative agriculture for doing that, and now with this project we can help gardeners look after wildlife, too. We’d just love to see everyone being wildlife friendly. Though eventually, we’d like to see gardeners tolerate slugs in their garden.”

The beer slops and slugs project will run to the end of July. By this time, most seedlings will have grown into plants so meaning slug control won’t be so necessary.

You can watch our feature on BBC Points West Below:

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