New Belgium Brewing made a lot of news in 2007 — from their wildly popular Fat Tire Amber Ale, to their on-going efforts to make brewing sustainable. Well 2008 seems to be no different. The famous Colorado brewery’s flagship beer suddenly has another characteristic: It’s now a key ingredient in an environmentally friendly form of fish food.
According to Wyoming’s Casper Star-Tribune, the aquaculture company Oberon FMR has teamed with the Colorado School of Mines and New Belgium to brew up its “fish meal replacement” at a pilot production plant at New Belgium in Fort Collins.
The pilot facility will feed and convert the protein-laden bacteria already swarming in New Belgium’s brewing wastewater. The goal: to change that bacteria into a protein-rich biomass.
The resulting Jell-O-like goop will be dried into granules and added to fish feed, reducing the need for fish meal in the feed.
“You’re taking what was previously a waste and turning it into fish food,” said John Spear, assistant professor of environmental science and engineering at the Colorado School of Mines.
Spear noted the process could be duplicated with wastewater flowing from other food-related plants such as those making soy milk or jam.
Forty-three percent of fish that people eat worldwide come from aquaculture, according to a 2006 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, so any steps that can be made to make an otherwise pretty environmentally detrimental process a little more sustainable is very much welcome.
Just another notch in the New Belgium belt.