Budweiser’s Parent Company to Turn Beer Byproduct into Vegan Protein
The world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, announced that it will implement a new production process to minimize beer waste and recycle the extra product into protein-rich ingredients. The parent company that makes Budweiser, Michelob, Busch and more will begin rethinking how to use parts of the plants in beer production to be upcycled instead of thrown away. Anheuser-Busch InBev partnered with the food tech startup EverGrain to develop a technology that will allow the company to extract protein and fiber from the used brewing grains.
“Up until a few years ago, what we did was take this barley malt, ferment, and produce beer,” Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Michel Doukeris said in a new interview. “In the fermentation process, the yeast takes all the starch or the carbohydrates from the barley and leaves the grain that is very rich in protein and fibers.
“Through technology, especially biotech technology, we were able to do a separation with the fiber and the protein, and now we have an amazing amount of protein — that is very high-quality protein without any carbohydrates — that we can sell.”
Founded after five years of extensive research, EverGrain launched this year to develop an innovative process that will allow the international brewing company to circularly source barley into ingredients for other industries. The company’s new methodology and technology will allow grain waste to become the source ingredient to alternative proteins.
One brand to incorporate the new protein ingredient is Take Two’s barley-based milk. The EverGrain subsidiary uses the revived grains to create nutrient-rich plant-based milk that is both healthier and more sustainable than traditional dairy. Anheuser-Busch InBev aims to promote the new eco-friendly practice in order to enter a variety of other food and beverage categories using the company’s upcycled grain-based ingredients.
“I see an opportunity to combine our brewing infrastructure and expertise with biotech advancements to help address increasing global food and sustainability challenges,” Doukeris said in a recent investor seminar.
Alongside EverGrain, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced that it will support the startup BioBrew through its innovation arm ZX Ventures. The brewing company will help BioBrew enhance its production capabilities, working to develop alternative proteins and products. Currently, BioBrew has yet to announce specific products that it intends to bring to the market, but the company did reveal it began fermenting grains to create plant-based milk products.
The company’s innovation arm is continuously investing in sustainable food companies, promoting plant-based production and new methods to reduce waste. ZX Ventures recently teamed up with EVERY Company to help produce animal-free egg protein that uses precision fermentation. For years, EVERY has worked to perfect its proprietary method but struggled with large-scale production capacity. ZX Ventures aims to expand the company’s production capabilities beginning with EVERY’s inaugural product: animal-free egg whites.
“No one in the world possesses as much scaled fermentation knowledge as [Anheuser-Busch InBev],” Global Head of ZX Ventures Bernardo Novick said in a statement. “The application of biotechnology to food and beverage is expected to be a massive opportunity in the next 10 to 20 years. And the market for alternative fermented protein alone is estimated to reach $22 billion by 2035.”
Anheuser-Busch InBev aims to reformulate worldwide beer production by promoting renewable practices: The brewing giant is working with the food tech companies to develop the most efficient, sustainable, and profitable methods to both reduce waste and increase production simultaneously. Earlier this year, the company announced that EverGrain opened a $100 million facility to begin its protein production. The company claims that it started commercialization and plans to begin selling the protein source across both the United States and Europe in the near future.