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Brewers Spent Grain

‘Upcycling’ a fast-growing food industry in Minnesota

 A burgeoning Minnesota industry uses discarded but still nutritious foodstuffs.We are honored to have our story told by Star Tribune reporter Brooks Johnson.Story by BROOKS JOHNSONPhoto illustration by NURI DUCASSI; iStock Star Tribune staffWhat happens to all that malted barley after beer is done brewing, or all those oats after being soaked to make oat milk? They are increasingly ending up back in food.Minnesota’s nascent “upcycled” food industry — which is one part recycling and another part food manufacturing — has gone from nearly non- existent to vibrant in just a few years. The aim of upcycling is to find new uses for otherwise discarded, yet still nutritious, foodstuffs. Repurposed grains are hitting shelves in baking mixes, crackers and even cereal.“It used to be a movement. Now it’s an industry,” said Sue Marshall, founder and CEO of St. Paul-based upcycling company Netzro.The practice of redirecting food waste — which the industry…
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Sustainable Uses of Spent Grain

Brewer’s spent grain (BSG) is the primary byproduct of the brewing industry and, if not managed properly, can become a source of food waste.  The article “Sustainable Uses of Spent Grain” by Kay Witkiewicz details innovative ways that craft breweries are repurposing their spent grain to prevent waste. “While breweries such as Twisted Pine Brewing Co. and Hangar 24 Craft Brewery employ “farm-to-foam” approaches in creating seasonal beers using local ingredients, many others give back the bulk of their spent grain to their agricultural communities—from “foam-to-farm” so to speak.” A closed-loop system is the economic model of a circular economy.  When products no longer serve their original purpose they are upcycled into new ones, often leading to nontraditional uses of materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. The farm-to-foam/foam-to-farm concept discussed in the article is similar to a closed loop.  Using spent grain as a farming input not only…
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