DSC Member: Dan Kurzrock, Grain Train

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When you’re a 19-year-old UCLA student without a fake ID, sometimes you’ve got to take matters into your own hands—like brewing beer in your dorm room. That’s how Dan Kurzrock started his college career, that is until his misguided attempt at underaged drinking became a promising eco-business venture. After discovering that the spent grain from his brewing was quite tasty, Dan baked them, cut them into bars and started giving them to his friends. The result was ReGrained, a healthy snack that’s like beer you can eat.

On brewing beer in college: “I started homebrewing with a buddy during our freshman year of college because we were too young to buy beer. His older brother let us use his equipment, and we ambitiously attempted a double batch our first time around—a basic Blonde and a Stout. Next, we began experimenting with high gravity beers like Double IPAs, Strong Belgians, and Imperial Stouts. We were definitely a bit hop-crazy for a while.”

On coming up with the idea for ReGrained bars: “The ten to twenty pounds of malt that we used with each recipe ended up in the trash. I thought ‘there’s got to be a better way.’ My business sense kicked in, and I started baking and selling batches of bread to friends as Brewin’ Bread. After taking an entrepreneurship course with my co-founder, we evolved into ReGrained and pivoted from bread to bars to extend the shelf life of our products.”

On baking ReGrained bars: “First we drink a growler of local beer each, and then proceed to get out our arsenal of scales, graduated cylinders and a blowtorch… Just kidding. It’s actually a pretty straightforward process. We mix ingredients, bake the bars, cut them and package.”

On whether ReGrained can get you tipsy: “The alcohol in beer actually comes from yeast fermenting the sugars that the brewers extract from the grain. Even if we added alcohol back in for flavor, any intoxicating effects would be baked off.”

On running a business: “We found there to be a delicate balance between working on and in the business. If we focused too much working on the business we’d never grow. If we focused too much in the business, we could easily still be selling a few hundred bars a weekend at farmers markets.”

On what’s next: “Beer grain is a sustainable source of nutrition, and our mission is to introduce it as a mainstay ingredient of our food system. Ultimately, we exist to help the evolving urban ecosystem do more with less.”

You can grab your own beer bars at regrained.com or on amazon.com.

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