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Traceable beer shows barley’s path in Alta.

Traceable beer shows barley’s path in Alta.

People can use the beer’s QR code to follow the timeline from barley to beverage

Staff Writer

Consumers can now trace the journey of barley planted at Olds College’s Smart Farm to their Barley Trail beer by scanning a QR code on the cans.

The project, called Field to Glass, started in 2019 after staff at Olds College wanted to find a way to educate consumers, said Brianna Gratton. She’s a SmartAg Techgromist at the college.

“The products we consume today go through many steps to get from the farm to us. Often, the origin gets lost by the time (the product) hits the shelf. With (consumers’) increasing interest in knowing where their food and beverages come from, and how they're made, … we thought this project could be a good fit,” she told

The college partnered with Decisive Farming, Grain Discovery and Red Shed Malting to make this traceable beer possible, said Gratton.

Decisive Farming provided management software that the Smart Farm team used to document the cultivation of the barley. Red Shed Malting processed the barley and then Olds College Brewery produced and packaged the beer. Finally, Grain Discovery created the QR code that incorporates all the information to tell the story of the beverage, the release stated.

The QR code “links to a site that displays the story of the barley including exactly where the seed came from, transportation, seeding, spring harvest, cleaning, malting and finally brewing,” said Gratton.

While the website informs the consumer about the origins of their Barley Trail beer, the site also benefits the producer, said Gratton.

This technology allows growers “to get the recognition that they deserve for all the work they've put in and also increases the value of their product,” she said.

The beer is available at the Olds College Brewery and select liquor stores in Calgary.

Photo credit: Sergi Belski


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