In November the San Francisco-based company that makes granola bars out of grains leftover from the beer-making process has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Barnraiser. This platform provides the opportunity for sustainable food businesses to raise money to help them grow to the next level.
In one month they reached their goal and rasid $30, 670.
ReGrained, which has been selling its snack bars at outlets like Rainbow Grocery and at the Treasure Island Flea, is hoping to enhance the product’s recipe, improve packaging and increase production volume with this next round of funding.
“We have all these things we want to do to our product before we put the pedal to the medal and get regional distribution, ” said Dan Kurzrock, ReGrained’s “executive grain officer, ” as well as cofounder of the company with his business partner Jordan Schwartz.
Kurzrock and Schwartz, who both hail from the Peninsula, have known each other since childhood and attended UCLA together. By then, Schwartz had developed an avid interested in all things food-related, and Kurzrock had become a serious homebrewer, brewing five gallons of beer about every other week.
Like any homebrewer learns, that kind of habit produces an enormous amount of waste. Kurzrock was generating 15 to 20 pounds of spent grains with every five gallons of beer he made.
Coming from a household where food was never wasted, he was suddenly faced with a big problem: what to do with such large quantities of spent grains.
“I was living in a fraternity house where I didn’t have a yard or compost service, ” he said. “It smelled great, so I tried it, and it tasted kind of like oatmeal, ” which led him to wonder if there was anything edible that could be made from it.
In online forums for homebrewers, he learned that it was commonly used to bake bread.
“I had never made bread before, but I started by making 20 loaves to see if I could sell it to people to buy the next round of ingredients for my next batch of homebrew. People were interested without even trying it. They loved that it came from the beer-making process and the story of it, which got me thinking about the bigger opportunity here, ” said Kurzrock.
Ever the entrepreneur, Kurzrock realized that bread has a short shelf-life. He wondered what other products could be created with the spent grains, and that’s when he came up with the idea to make snack bars.
Since they first launched in 2012, they have produced two types of bars: honey almond IPA and chocolate coffee stout. Eventually, they’d like to branch out to produce other foods as well.
While the company has partnerships with three San Francisco breweries – Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery, 21st Amendment and Triple VooDoo Brewery – Kurzrock emphasized that the amount of grains they are using for their products is still a drop in the proverbial food-grade container.