Plzeňský Prazdroj tests malt cookies

Grain mass left over from brewing was used for baking snacks

Czech brewer Plzeňský Prazdroj is exploring using spent malt to make wheat cookies. The idea is so far only in a test phase, but both savory and sweet varieties have been made in small batches.

The sweet biscuits were flavored with with honey, oat flakes and raisins.

Plzeňský Prazdroj is the largest brewer in the Czech Republic. Its brands include Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus, among others.

Brewery spokeswoman Jitka Němečková said that it is not clear yet if the project will go into mass production.

The cookies were produced at the beginning of the year by Biopekárna Zemanka. After the brewing process, the malt has been turned into a wheat pulp called draff.

“The draff has a higher protein and fiber content and fewer carbohydrates than conventional flours. It is used by several startups in the US to produce special flour and healthy breadsticks. We decided to find a partner who, together with us, would try to experimentally produce something similar,” Tereza Kamal, responsible for corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in Plzeňský Prazdroj, said in a press release.

“These were only one-time experiments, but the results have been very surprising. It is premature to talk about other plans,” Kamal said.

If the brewery, after thorough analysis with Biopekárna Zemanka, agrees on standard production, there will be several distribution options such as direct deliveries to restaurants and cafes as well as retail sales.

Spent malt is currently used by farmers to feed livestock. If the cookies go into mass production, enough malt will still be available for farmers.

“Farmers do not have to worry about the future. … Even if we go through with regular production of cookies in the future, we will use only a small fraction of the total amount of draff we have at our disposal. Our aim is to show that even from waste it is possible to create something with added value. And I'm so glad that we did it and that the Biopekárna Zemanka did it with us,” Kamal said.

According to Jan Zeman of Biopekárna Zemanka, it was an interesting challenge for the company. “We have also embarked on a sustainable production path, and we were pleased to participate in this project. We have shown that we can still move our production in a more eco-friendly way,” he said.

Plzeňský Prazdroj in the long term has been reducing the environmental impact of its business. “Today we recycle or re-use 98.5 percent of all production waste. Grain, yeast and malt waste are delivered to farmers as feed. Sewage sludge is used as a fertilizer,” Kamal said.

Plzeňský Prazdroj since march 2017 has been owned by Asahi Breweries. The brewery was established in 1842.

In 2017, Plzensky Prazdroj’s sales volumes in both the domestic market and abroad exceeded 11 million hectoliters. Domestic production volumes amounted to 7 million hectoliters, export volumes exceeded 1.5 million hectoliters and licensed production totaled 2.6 million hectoliters.

Last year, Plzeňský Prazdroj became a member of the Association of Social Responsibility (ASO), the largest initiative of CSR and sustainable development in the Czech Republic.

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