There has been a big push for environmental awareness in recent years, and many consumers are urging manufacturers to take a closer look at the impact that their company has on the environment. Recycled packaging, the use of sustainable resources, and even up-cycled materials are all being used now more than ever. Brew Chews, a company that makes dog treats, is taking this eco-friendly business model one step further.
Riley and Mary Rogers enjoyed sampling beers from a local brewery in Fargo, North Dakota. Now, that love has turned into a business venture. The couple has partnered with the Fargo Brewing Company to reuse the spent grain from their brews in the making of their homemade dog treats.
Mary says that the idea actually came about while the couple was sitting at the brewery. Riley knew the owners and many of the folks who worked there, and he was able to pull some strings and get access to the spent grain. They combine malted barley and oats with organic eggs and flour, natural peanut butter, and other healthy ingredients that dogs enjoy.
Mary is a family and consumer science teacher, so her skills in the kitchen are top-notch. They worked up a recipe and began baking the dog treats, which look similar to an unsweetened granola bar. They are also using grains from multiple different brewers now.
As of 2023, you can pick up three bags of treats for $21. That’s not a bad price for homemade dog treats that are baked in small batches and prepared with healthy and safe ingredients.
Brew Chew isn’t the only company taking advantage of brewer’s spent grain (BSG). Located in Massachusetts, the Somerville Brewing Company holds classes for dog owners interested in making their own dog treats with BSG. Co-founder and co-owner of the business, Caitlin Jewell leads a cooking class in which attendees arrive to find a bag full of spent grain at their seat.
UPDATE 2023: Somerville Brewing Company is no longer in business since 2020.
They also receive the recipe for all four of the company’s house dog treat recipes and samples of each treat to take home to their Fido. Students in the class whip up their own batch of dog treats and then take them home to bake. Jewell says that the treats are as healthy for humans as they are for dogs.
This may strike you as a bit confusing since most articles on the subject of dog food and treats are urging you to stay away from by-products. When it comes to meat or plant by-products, they have little to no nutritional value. The reason that you should stay away from pet products that use those ingredients is that your dog will not be getting the nutrients that he needs from those foods.
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It’s different from BSGs. They still have nutritional value, so why not use them to make something useful? Sustainability in the food industry (both pet and human) is beginning to become a noticeable problem. The number of people on this planet continues to increase and so does the number of domesticated animals.
If we’re using the same meats, vegetables, and fruits to make food for both of these growing populations, how are we ever going to be able to keep up with the demand? Finding sustainable resources is the only way that we’ll be able to feed everyone. Reusing ingredients that still have nutritional value is just another way that we can get the most out of our resources.