The craft brewing industry in the United States is booming and we all reap the benefits every time we sip a hazy IPA at our favorite local taproom. But the craft brewing process generates more than the tasty beers we know and love, it also creates a huge amount of waste. Every year, breweries in the U.S. generate more than one billion tons of edible food waste. With his brand Brewer’s Foods, Kyle Fiasconaro is on a mission to upcycle this waste in the most delicious way possible.
The most plentiful by-product of the brewing process is spent grains, accounting for 85% of all brewery waste. As part of the beer-making process, breweries source high-quality grains like barley, wheat, and rye to steep in water. This mixture is then strained. The liquids are transformed into beer, leaving the grains to be discarded and typically sent to the landfill.
Brewer’s Foods upcycles those nutrient-rich and highly flavorful spent grains from breweries to create tasty and sustainable snacks including crackers, pita chips, and cookies.
Fiasconaro grew up in the food industry, starting in his father’s New York bagel shop. He dedicated his career to local food, working in some of the country’s top farm-to-table restaurants. One day, when biking past a Brooklyn brewery, he was startled to see thousands of pounds of spent grain being thrown away. Next door to the brewery, a bakery emitted the tempting aroma of freshly baked bread. Fiasconaro began to strategize how he could reclaim these wasted grains and transform them into a nutritious snack.
In 2017, Brewer’s Foods emerged — the product of seven years of Fiasconaro’s creative kitchen experiments. Brewer’s Foods is currently based in Somerville, Mass. You can find Brewer’s Foods products at grocery stores and farmers’ markets throughout the northeast U.S. (You can also find their crackers quickly disappearing from a plate next to me as I write this.)
Want some Brewer’s snacks for yourself? Check out their store locator here. If you don’t see Brewer’s available at a location near you, put in a request at your local grocer or specialty food market — according to Fiasconaro, word of mouth has been the most powerful tool for their growth. So tell your friends too. As demand increases for these sustainable snacks, more brewery waste is kept out of landfills.