While food waste has become an increasingly visible and urgent issue across America, it's an issue that goes so far beyond "ugly" fruits and vegetables and confusing expiration date labels. A San Francisco-based startup has made it a mission to combat beer waste—and create some tasty snacks while doing it.
Beer waste? Yes—it's a big problem. During the beer-making process, brewers draw liquid from barley by soaking the grain in hot water. When they've finished their extracting, they're left with an excess of soggy, spent grains. While some rural breweries like Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas donate their soaked barley to farms to be used as animal feed, many companies—particularly ones without nearby access to a farm—end up tossing their extra grains in the trash. Each six-pack of beer results in about a pound of food waste, according to Mother Jones.
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ReGrained, a Bay Area startup with a passion for beer and sustainable food, decided to do something about this. Founder Cameron Schwartz—a beer brewing hobbyist himself—has created a snack line made completely from breweries' beer byproducts. ReGrained—whose slogan is "Eat Your Beer"—sells its "recycled" baked goods for around $2.50 each at local grocery stores. Currently, they work with three Bay Area breweries to turn their spent grain into something delicious.
"It's been really nice working with ReGrained to see an actual, viable product from something we were essentially throwing away," say Phil Meeker of San Francisco's Triple Voodoo Brewery.
While ReGrained currently sells snack bars exclusively, Schwartz has plans to expand into other edible treats. The company has plans to conquer the cookie, cereal and chip aisles as well, guaranteeing that everyone will be able to have their beer, and eat it too.