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Eat Your Beer: Turning Spent Grain into Granola Bars

Innovation by | Sep 2017 | Issue #128
Photo by Sofi Pechner

When two opportunistic undergraduate students at UCLA decided to brew their own beer, they wondered what to do with all the spent grain from their homebrewing endeavors.

After filling dumpsters with brewing byproducts, Dan Kurzrock and Jordan Schwartz did what many environmentally conscious homebrewers do: they started baking bread with the spent grain.

It wasn’t long before the pair started selling their bread to hungry students. Along the way, they realized that spent-grain food could be a solution to a massive waste stream created by breweries.

So the two started working on a granola bar. “The first ReGrained bar was baked in 2013 and the company grew slowly as a hobby until Dan graduated from business school in 2016,” says Sarah Nathan, vice president of business development for the fledgling food company based in San Francisco.

The main ingredient comes from six breweries in the area, including Fort Point Beer Co. and 21st Amendment Brewery. Not only do ReGrained bars keep spent grain out of the waste stream, Nathan says, the food is healthy.

“Brewer’s grain is about 35 percent fiber and 20 percent protein. That’s about the amount of protein in almonds and three times the amount of fiber as oats—we call it a ‘supergrain,’” Nathan says. “All the sugar has been extracted from the grain through the brewing process, as well as most of the gluten. However, our product is not entirely gluten free. Since the malting process sprouts the grain and the sugar is extracted, leaving prebiotic, insoluble fiber, it is much easier on the stomach.”

At press time, ReGrained granola bars, which come in flavors like Honey Cinnamon IPA and Chocolate Coffee Stout, have moved nearly 20,000 pounds of spent grain out of the waste stream. And with plans to make other edibles such as pretzels from spent grain flour, that number is likely to climb even higher.

ReGrained can be found at stores in Northern California, on Amazon, and at regrained.com

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