ECE Alumni - Anushka Purohit’s shining passion for environmental sustainability laudably reflects the culture of HKUST to innovate, create, and trust in oneself to overcome challenges to success
Great ideas don’t always come after rigorous thinking or arduous planning. Sometimes, they occur during the most regular activities on a regular day. For Anushka Purohit, it was on a bustling evening in Lan Kawi Fong as she watched someone nearby enjoy a pint of chilled beer.
Anushka realized that beer and bread (one of the most wasted foods in Hong Kong) were both made from cereal, especially barley. At that moment came the ingenious idea to make beer from the 1700 tonnes of unsold bread that was daily condemned to the landfills of Hong Kong – to make “Breer.”
With this initiative, Anushka, along with her friends Naman, Suyash, and Deevansh entered for the Enactus HKUST Competition and won the HKUST and Hong Kong Rounds. The funds from their winning were invested into a startup company that produces beer from surplus bread from bakeries all over Hong Kong. They named it BREER and it began operations in 2019.
As the CEO and co-founder of Breer, Anushka Purohit launched her incredible journey of a bright idea turned into reality. Supported by the HKUST Entrepreneurship Centre, Anushka and her team worked relentlessly to carve a niche in environmental sustainability, committed to the vision of reducing food wastage in Hong Kong to zero.
Building the Breer brand was not without its challenges. Anushka and her team were undergraduate students, and so outlandish was their vision that it could not be accepted or understood by many people. Anushka and her team were laughed at by some, and dismissed by others in their pursuit of partnerships with bakeries in Hong King for their beer production. After the success of their first beer made from sourdough, Breer released its first batch of products and garnered acclaim.
In time, Anushka Purohit and her team hit the right mark and secured collaborations with 21 bakeries and restaurants in Hong Kong, including Maxim’s and Pizza Hut. Every can of Breer produced with transparency of ingredient information and colorfully-designed packaging could not be ignored by beer lovers in Hong Kong.
By turning surplus bread into beer, Anushka and her team built a formidable brand with the motto “waste is not waste until you waste it.” To this end, over 10 tonnes of bread were upcycled by Breer and still increasing with the production scale.
After remarkably combining the demands of her undergraduate studies with running a budding startup, Anushka Purohit graduated from the Hong Kong University of Technology with a degree in Electronic Engineering in 2022.
With her team of friends from HKUST, Anushka Purohit is impressively pioneering the frontiers of food up-cycling and proving her mettle as a social entrepreneur. Her brainchild, Breer, is breaking new grounds by exploring the conversions of other wasted foods such as coffee grounds into brewed stouts.
From her experience, Anushka admonishes people who wish to be entrepreneurs to start while they are young, do what they love, and ensure that in their endeavours, they are solving social problems.
Anushka Purohit’s shining passion for environmental sustainability laudably reflects the culture of HKUST to innovate, create, and trust in oneself to overcome challenges to success.
Photo credit@ Sing Tao News
Text credit@ HKUST Alumni Stories