Siblings Niamh and Ruairi Dooley have created a food supplement from the grains left over from the craft brewing industry. Their BiaSol Super Milled Grains is a zero waste, nutritional supplement that can be used in a variety of ways such as being added to soups, sauces, smoothies, or sprinkled on porridge or breakfast cereals.
The grains, mostly malted barley but also small amounts of oats, wheat and rye, are collected from four craft breweries near the BiaSol manufacturing premises in Tullamore. As much as four tonnes a week of the wet, spent grains are collected from St Mels in Longford; Dead Centre Brewing in Athlone; Bru Brewery in Trim; and Ballykilcavan in Stradbally, before being dried, milled and packed.
Despite having been used in the brewing process, there is plenty of nutrition still in the grains, says Niamh, who has a degree in food science and health from the University of Limerick. “At the beginning of the brewing process, the grains are heated with water to extract the starch. The starch is then converted to sugar which further on during the process ferments into alcohol. Therefore, the goodness is left in the outer husk of the grains, which contain enormous amounts of fibre and also contain a high amount of protein.
“There are also prebiotic fibres which help feed the friendly gut bacteria and B vitamins present which help the digestive system. The grains are also high in some minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium.”
The siblings began developing their Super Milled Grains in July 2020, with support from Enterprise Ireland. BiaSol recently became certified as a member of the Upcycled Food Association, a non-profit organisation based in the US, which is focused on reducing food waste.
Niamh, whose interest in sustainability stems from her experience working in a vegan food truck in Canada, is responsible for the operations side of the business, while Ruairi, who is an IT business analyst based in London, manages the finance and administration functions.
The Super Milled Grains have a malty, nutty flavour, and as well as being suitable to add to meals, they can be used in baking. BiaSol also produces a range of baking mixes, for soda bread, scones, cookies and pancakes, containing milled grains.
BiaSol Super Milled Grains can be purchased online (€5.99) and are stocked in health food shops and independent food stores across the country. The baking mixes are €3.99 each. See biasol.ie for stockists, online shop and to access a range of recipes using the product.