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In Edible-Alpha® podcast #39, Tera interviews Daniel Kurzrock, co-founder and Chief Grain Officer of ReGrained. Regrained is a national brand of bars and ready-to-eat snacks made from the high-protein and high-fiber flour of “spent” grains used in the beer brewing process. The nature of their product has led them to develop a unique business model. After experimenting with the ReGrained concept as a homebrewer by making bread and bars by hand to prove their concept, Dan and his partner Jordan worked with engineers at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to invent a patent pending process to safely and efficiently upcycle these grains. Their call to action to consumers: “Eat Beer!”
Developing Their Unique Product And Business Model
Their core bar product went through many iterations before being ready to scale. Since the bar category is crowded and competitive, it was a learning process to get trial and educate the consumer. Dan and his team were intentional from the beginning about the core things that make their product defensibly unique. This includes their unique process and environmental focus, reducing waste not just in formulating their product but also in having compostable packaging. Their bars have helped educated the consumer and generate demand for these grains, positioning them to take advantage of the huge amount of supply available from beer breweries.
ReGrained launched their product at scale in January 2018 and now are working with other businesses to help them produce/co-brand new products using their production facility and the expertise embedded in their proprietary process. They are building out a commercial scale facility that they call a “ReGrainery” in Berkeley, CA currently to process the flour for their bars and demonstrate the re-grained concept to the public. In addition, rather than manufacture bars or other products for others, this facility will help them supply other businesses with their flour. They have had to develop shared-value with brewers as part of their business model to manage a more complex supply chain profitably and reliably commit to the output from the breweries. Building the market and the supply chain relationships is a long-term vision that aligns consumers, suppliers, funders and their brand.
Funding Growth and Aligning With Investors For The Long Term
ReGrained self-funded their activities early on through small start up investment and cash from product sales. In 2015, they raised over $30,000 via rewards based crowdfunding. By late 2016, they felt ready to take on additional financing so they could make ReGrained their full-time gig. So, they began raising investments from friends, family and angel investors, continuing to raise money from those and other investors since then, including nearly $700,000 through equity based crowdfunding. This larger amount of investors has allowed them to live out their values of making investment in ReGrained accessible to more people. In addition, having more investors has also helped them build a marketing infrastructure that can leverage those investors as advocates for their company. They have also raised some financing through debt and have recently had Griffith Foods support them as a strategic partner.
Dan is excited to get the ReGrainery in operation soon and start releasing other lines of their own products in addition to co-branded upcycled food products with other food brands. He and the team at ReGrained are excited about their business model being defensibly unique in today’s marketplace and their business model’s long-term impact on the planet.