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Grainola Goddess uses spent brewery grain in original granolas

A three–strong range of granolas made from spent grain from a successful craft brewery has been launched in Northern Ireland under the new Grainola Goddess brand.

Grainola Goddess is the brainchild of experienced caterer Jill McKillop in Derry. The new products – Honeynut Crunch, Bountiful Berry and Choc’o Luxe – are produced in 450g packs retailing at around £8.

The granolas use spent grain from The Walled City Brewery and Restaurant in Derry, one of Northern Ireland’s most innovative and successful craft breweries. Mrs McKillop is the executive chef of the restaurant and the sister of James Huey who set up the brewery in May 2015, the first to be established in Derry in more than a century.

The restaurant has since won a series of awards for the quality of its food including ‘Best Gastro Pub in Ireland’ last year from the influential Restaurant Association of Ireland.

A trained chef, Jill has created the restaurant’s original and acclaimed menus. “Waste reduction and recycling have long been a focus of the brewery and restaurant,” says Mrs McKillop. “James was keen to find a sustainable solution to spent grain in particular and challenged me to see if I could come up with some realistic options. Handling the amount of spent grain is a significant cost,” she adds.

Spent grains account for about 85 percent of the by–product from beer production.

While the grain has been used to feed animals and to bake bread, I wanted to see if there were other options and decided to look at how other small breweries around the world deal with it. I was keen to see if value could be added to the grain to turn a cost into a profitable and sustainable product. I wasn’t thinking then of starting a new business,” she explains.

She researched the internet as well as other academic and commercial sources for ideas. “I discovered that the grain has highly desirable nutritional benefits and that a small company in California has been successfully using it in healthy granola bars,” she adds.

“The brewing process removes the sugar and leaves behind protein, fibre and other healthy micronutrients.

Her desk research produced further evidence of the benefits of the spent grain as a functional food ingredient. In addition to high levels of dietary fibre and protein, her study found that the grain is packed with minerals and vitamins.

And it led her to take granola, a popular breakfast cereal at home as the basis for a new product idea

 “I’ve used loose granola at breakfast for many years,” she continues. “It made sense to take a product I’ve known and add value to it by using the spent grain. I started work on creating my own original recipe and baked my own version of the cereal that’s now a feature on so many breakfast tables here and abroad.

She’s now blended fruits, honey and chocolate in her recipes for three distinctive granolas and replaced sugar with honey because of its low glucose content. The original cereals are now on sale at markets and some stores here….with more in the pipeline.

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Head of Business Development

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Drew McIvor
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E-Mail: michelle.charrington@investni.com

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Editor & Content Manager / Twitter @lovenifood

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