When you talk with Dan Kurzrock, you learn at least a few new words, some of which he probably made up, and a few repurposed words that he needs to express aspects of ReGrained, which he co-founded with Jordan Schwartz.
One repurposed word is “spent,” which is appropriate because ReGrained harvests “spent” beer grain, upcycled from the brewing process, to create healthy, delicious, and sustainable products baked with all natural, locally sourced ingredients. The grain is “spent” as far as the brewer is concerned, but far from “spent” as far as its food value is concerned.
“Craft brewers use top quality malted barley, which is a healthy grain to begin with. The process of making their beers uses the sugars and leaves behind the protein and fiber,” Dan explains. “That mash of protein and fiber smells and tastes really good, but the only uses it has been put to was feed for livestock or compost. When those two options aren’t available, especially for urban breweries, it goes into the landfill.”
◦ Dan started brewing beer as a hobby when he was 19 (too young to buy a beer in a bar) because it was legal to buy the ingredients and make his own. “I got really into it and was making about 5 gallons a week, which took about 20 pounds of grain. I realized that what was left after brewing the beer, was enough ‘oatmeal’ to feed a whole elementary school. The first product we made was bread, which tasted great, but we saw many challenges in scaling up production of fresh baked good, so we developed our bars.”
“I'd known Jordan most of my life and experienced firsthand his passion for food and cooking, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. He was the first person I thought of to reach out to when I had the idea of this business. There’s a lot that we both do, but we also each have our special expertise. Jordan is “Mr. inside,” managing production operations and developing recipes, and I’m ”Mr. Outside,” handling areas like partnerships, sales, and marketing.”
“For both of us, a big piece of what we’re doing is closing a nutrient loop. Besides preventing recoverable food from going to compost, we want all the decisions we make to be inherently sustainable. An example is our home-compostable wrapper, because keeping material from ending up in landfill is a non-negotiable value for us. Also, we use organic and non-GMO ingredients and source as many of our ingredients locally as possible.
“We want our entire business to contribute to making the world a better place. We want to be a model of starting small, growing sustainably, and focusing on ideas that go beyond ourselves and are future oriented, long-term vs. short-term.”
Their mantra is simple: “Brew Good. Bake Good. Do Good.” And they invite everyone to “Have your beer…and eat it too!” (Marie Antoinette would be proud.)