Meet one Columbus company that is crafting dog treats out of brewers' spent grains.
An open garage and the smell of brewing beer has long been a signal for Brian Ratliff's neighbors to head over and taste his latest creations, including treats for their dogs. A longtime home brewer, Ratliff started making dog biscuits about three years ago after reading an article about the health benefits of spent grains, protein- and fiber-packed super grains that are a byproduct of the brewing process. After testing recipes for his own four-legged friend, Brewster (pictured above), and others in his Worthington neighborhood, he met business partner Robby Ringnalda, a fellow entrepreneur and dog lover. The pair decided to launch Craft Beer Biscuits in January 2018.
Around the same time, Ratliff got to know Gavin Meyers, co-founder of North High Brewing, and learned that the brewery had nearly 8,000 pounds of spent grains each week—so much that North High was paying to have it hauled away. Realizing the opportunity, Ratliff and Ringnalda pitched the idea of co-branding Craft Beer Biscuits to North High, Four String Brewing Co. and Endeavor Brewing Co.
Endeavor CEO and owner Scott Talmage calls the partnership symbiotic. “They take our spent grains, which is a waste product for us, and turn them into nutritious treats for dogs. We also happen to love dogs at Endeavor Brewing Co., so the fit is completely natural,” he says.
Craft Beer Biscuits come in a clever beer-mug shape with a lineup that includes its best-selling Jabba The Mutt (peanut butter), Unicorgi (apple and cinnamon) and Scarlett & Greyhound (strawberry and apple). With product placement in locations that don't typically feature beer—from farmers markets to veterinarians' offices, pet shops to grocery aisles—the breweries are able to get in front of new consumers. “As a local business, we always look to partner with other community-oriented companies in Central Ohio,” says Mark Vitt, co-founder of the retail shop/grooming center Mutts & Co. “So working with Craft Beer Biscuits made total sense. Plus, their combination of local brewery grains and healthy ingredients is exactly what our customers love.”