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Shreveport brewery turns spent grain into dog treat charity

Kate Archer Kent

Great Raft Brewing Co. in Shreveport has found a new way to recycle its “spent” grain used in the brewing process. When brewers make beer, they're left with massive amounts of leftover grain. The brewery partnered with a local caterer to make dog treats. Great Raft co-founder Lindsay Nations says proceeds from dog treat sales will be donated to the Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana.

“We’re taking an otherwise useless grain that we don’t need anymore, but it still has a lot of nutritional value, and baking it into a treat. Turn it into something tasty, and send all the proceeds to the animal shelter. It’s just a win-win,” Nations said, holding her silky terrier, Levon, who helped with taste testing.

The treats also contain flour, eggs, peanut butter, and honey. Drake Catering owner Blake Jackson bakes hundreds of treats using about 20 pounds of recycled grain per batch. He likes simple ingredients.

“Most dog treats now have what is considered feed-grade food. The Food and Drug Administration does not approve it for human consumption. That’s what goes into your dog treats at the store,” Jackson said. “What’s great about these and what I love about it for my dog is that it’s made with stuff that I’m OK with eating. If I’m OK with eating it, obviously I’m cool with giving it to my dog.”

Nations wants to be clear: these treats do not contain alcohol or hops. She says local vet clinics have inquired about selling them. The duo may consider a spin-off company if the project expands.

Credit Kate Archer Kent
Blake Jackson and Lindsay Nations launched their dog treat project this month, with taste testing help from Nations' silky terrier, Levon.

The brewery will continue to donate spent grain to local farmers to use for feed every day, according to Nations.

“It leaves a big mess. There’s a lot of spent grain left over at the end of the brewing process, about 1,500 pounds per batch. If you don’t dispose of it properly within about a day, it begins to smell really bad. We knew we wanted to get it out of here as quickly as possible,” Nations said.

The biscuits are available at Great Raft’s tasting room, 1251 Dalzell St., for $8 dollars per bag and contain about 10 treats.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.