KOFF Christmas Beer is the oldest and most popular Christmas beer in Finland, brewed since 1987 with the same recipe. This year one can track its malted barley to Tomppila farm in Kouvola,’s Raussila village, Southern Finland. KOFF Christmas Beer can be field-tracked for the 16th season. As in two previous years, the barley has been grown using regenerative farming methods.
The Tomppila farm is a family farm of Elina and Jonas Valkeinen, cultivating the land already in the fifth generation. KOFF Christmas Beer farm has once again been selected from malter Viking Malt’s contract farmers. The journey of malted barley can thus be traced from field to glass. In addition to the auditing carried out by Viking Malt, Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) assessed the Baltic Sea friendliness of the farm's operations.
The audit and assessment will examine farming practices, variety selection, fertilization, crop rotation, drying and storage of barley. Importantly, all resources that are put into the field are also recovered.
In addition to being a farmer, Elina Valkeinen is a specialist in crop production and trains other farmers at ProAgria, specializing in regenerative farming methods. She has been involved in an Excellence Training Program administered by BSAG,. The program trains advisors in soil health, which is at the heart of regenerative farming.
”The essence of regenerative farming is that along food production the soil binds carbon, and also supports and increases biodiversity and reduces greenhouse emissions. Soil health is our most important capital. We take care of it by utilizing, among other things, cover crops that bind carbon and nutrients to the soil. In addition, we have diversity and flower-rich grasslands that support biodiversity. We farmers live in the midst of nature and understand the importance of this,” Elina Valkeinen says.
In cultivation, Tomppila farm has about 160 hectares in cultivation. The farm's crop rotation includes Vanille and RGT Planet malted barley, spring and autumn wheat, peas, oats, oil plants and the aforementioned diverse and flower-rich grasslands. The malted barley variety for KOFF Christmas beer is RGT Planet.
“The farmer couple at Tomppila is developing their farm in a holistic manner. Through varied crop rotation and multispecies flora, good living conditions for life both above and below ground is ensured. Soil disturbance and plant protection are carried out on the farm in an adaptive manner and the basic condition of the fields, including water management, is regularly taken care of,” says Baltic Sea Action Group's Tanya Santalahti.
The Finnish Carbon Action platform explores and develops ways to accelerate and scientifically verify soil carbon storage. In addition, the platform promotes the introduction of regenerative crop measures that mitigate climate change and improve soil health.
Carbon Action is a pilot assembled by the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) and started with start-up funding from the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra in 2017, with research cooperation by the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The Carbon Action pilot has grown into a collaborative platform with multiple projects, funders, farmers, advisors, researchers and companies.
Sinebrychoff is a carbon neutral brewery, meaning no carbon-based energy is used at the Kerava brewery or at the soft drinks department. In addition, small residual emissions in production have been compensated.
“One year ago, our parent company Carlsberg Group expanded our sustainability program Together Towards ZERO and Beyond to include regenerative farming, which KOFF Christmas Beer also represents. The carefully audited KOFF Christmas Beer has been our spearhead as a sustainable beer for a long time. It is probably the most ecological beer in Finland - barley has been grown with regenerative farming methods near our brewery and the beer production itself is carbon-neutral,” says Hanna Palomäki, Environmental Coordinator at Sinebrychoff.
KOFF Christmas beer was first introduced in 1987. It is a golden brown, soft and full-bodied Viennese-style lager. Dark-roasted barley malt and Saaz hops bring Christmas aromas to the beer.