Draff and crackers!

Posted on 14 January 2021.

La Drêcherie is an artisan food workshop and a laboratory for great circular ideas. It transforms draff, a by-product of beer-making from the malted cereals, into healthy and delicious food products that are sold locally.

On the first floor of the Brasserie de l'Être in Paris, La Drêcherie creates a micro-industrial symbiosis in the brewing value chain.

Located in the heart of the 19th arrondissement in Paris on the premises of an organic brewery - the Brasserie de l’Être - La Drêcherie is an artisan food workshop that applies the principles of circular economy and industrial and territorial ecology to the letter. The cracker-making workshop repurposes the draff or spent grain - a by-product of beer-making from the malted cereals - and uses it in its recipes for pre-dinner crackers.

Draff, an untapped resource... in cities

Traditionally, artisan breweries are located in the countryside or small towns - the draff can then be offered as animal feed to nearby livestock farmers. In recent years, however, microbreweries have sprouted up like mushrooms in large cities.

And unsurprisingly in Paris, Amsterdam, Tokyo or Portland, there are no cows or pigs to feed. It has therefore become much more complicated for master brewers to get rid of the tons of draff they produce every month.
And draff is a great resource! Rich in energy and fiber but lower in carbohydrates than raw grains, and a source of protein and minerals, it is a nutritious and local commodity for cities that could help improve food self-sufficiency. So why not include it in our diet?

From draff to crackers

Elsa Raverdy, a former waste management and circular economy consultant, join by Edward Jalat-Dehen, Loïc Lecoin, and Marc Le Flour, founders of la Brasserie de l’Être,  created La Drêcherie. The artisan food workshop transforms draff into two main products - the pre-dinner snacks they have named Brewsticks and sweet cookies.

Made from the rawest and most local ingredients possible, with no additives or preservatives, Brewsticks are "the crisp and crunchy manifestation of a minimally processed and artisan diet, with beautiful, tasty, well-balanced and original products". Available in five flavors, they are produced in Paris for Paris, and are sold in independent shops, supermarkets, cooperative grocery stores, as well as in specialized organic distribution.

Micro-industrial symbiosis

By moving to the first floor of the Brasserie de l'Être where the draff is produced, La Drêcherie has created what is known as a micro-industrial symbiosis (a company using unused materials from another company) in the brewing value chain. Its new workshop gives it the opportunity to fully develop the use of draff and to explore ideas for using other brewing by-products, such as malt flour, yeast, etc.

 

Questioned in 2019 when they first moved in, Elsa says that the Paris brewery produces 4 metric tons of draff per month, enough to make 20,000 bags of Brewsticks. At the time, La Drêcherie's manual production process only used about 15 kilos of draff per month. The switch to mechanical production should increase the amount used to 1 metric ton.