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Spent grain dog treats turning into niche market in Windsor, Ont. area

Craft breweries in Windsor and Essex County, Ont. have been serving up pints for quite some time, but now a handful of local brewers are also finding a niche market to satisfy our four-legged friends.

The product is spent grain dog treats, a way of diverting beer-making waste right to your dog’s mouth.

“It broke my heart to see it just go to waste, they just threw it out,” says Breanna Sekela, whose family owns and operates Sandwich Brewing Company.

A few years ago Sekela asked if there was a better outlet for that mash.

“You know what, what if I made pup treats using the spent grain,” she asked. “I know the chickens like it and I know farm animals like it, but what about the dogs?“

Turns out she was onto something, and she’s been dishing out spent grain pup treats ever since.

“It’s a long process and it’s just my little oven and our little house,” she says.

The grain goes from Sandwich Brewery’s fermenting tanks to Sekela’s kitchen, where she adds eggs, whole wheat flour and peanut butter for a snack that has dogs barking for more at the brewery.

“I do it for the love of it and to have my children love me, and it’s a whole learning process, part of their schooling,” Sekela says.

She’s not alone. One of Kim Barrett-Greenwood’s three pups had a food allergy so she went looking for an alternative and realized she could make her own.

“I love baking, so I just took my love for baking for people to baking for pets,” Barrett-Greenwood says. “I approached GL Heritage Brewery and said, ‘Can I try some of your spent grains to make dog treats with,’ and they said yes.”

After she makes up a few batches of Bugsy’s Bark Shoppe spent grain treats, she bags them up and ships them off to GL Heritage Brewery, and they're sold on site.

Barrett-Greenwood whips up a variety of flavours from apple cinnamon to cranberry and pumpkin, but recognizes that dogs aren’t all that picky.

“I love baking for dogs because they’re never upset with you, except if they don’t get treats from you,” she says.

Neither woman considers it a job, only making small batches to meet demand at the breweries and of course, take care of their furry friends at home.

Sekela’s children, who often make the treats at home with their mom, say the dogs always know when a batch is baking.

“The dogs really like the treats,” says six-year-old Frankie Sekela, her five-year-old brother Theo adding, “Pup treats are good for dogs and it helps them get big and strong.”

The respective products are available at both Sandwich Brewing Company at 3232 Sandwich St. W. in Windsor and GL Heritage Brewery at 8728 Howard Ave. in Amherstburg.

Both breweries also boast dog-friendly patios. Top Stories

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