Anheuser-Busch turns beer leftovers into usable products
Now you can feel good after knocking back a few brewskis — and not just because you’re tipsy. Beermaker Anheuser-Busch has found a way to turn its waste grain into an array of products, from clothes to cosmetics to biogas.
The beer behemoth has partnered with a company called Blue Marble Bio, which plans to set up large-scale biorefineries at Anheuser-Busch breweries that will use naturally occurring bacteria to break down spent grains using proprietary “polyculture fermentation technology.” That process will create both biogas, which can be used to generate electricity, and chemical compounds called carboxylic acids that are used to make everything from nylon to soap to food additives to floor polish.
This could be a great way to cut back on the mountains of waste generated by the beer industry (and remove the guilt associated with an epic hangover). Beermakers use about 400 million tons of grain during the production process, most of which is then discarded. Some breweries give used grains away as livestock feed or occasionally turn it into compost (and one uses it to make bread bowls for chili), but an estimated 92 percent of beer byproducts still go to waste.
Soon, though, you could be using that very same grain to clean your house, assuming you’re still sober enough. A cold brew without the hefty carbon footprint? Now that’s worth raising a glass to.