MSUToday
Published: June 23, 2015

MSU startup provides unique ingredients for breweries

Contact(s): Amber Shinn MSU Innovation Center office: (517) 884-0718 shinnamb@msu.edu

A new MSU startup company has found a way to apply Michigan’s role as first in chestnut production to the microbrew industry.

Treeborn Products craft-roasts chestnuts to be used in the brewing process for both gluten-free and regular ales, stouts and porters. Their craft-roasting process helps maximize chestnuts’ naturally sweet, nutty flavor.

Treeborn’s product brings chestnuts to the American brewing market in the form of flavorful, easy-to-use chips that can be applied at all stages of brewing.

“Brewers from the U.S. and Canada have been very positive partners - everybody’s looking for affordable ways to create new flavors from local sources,” shared Brian Polowniak, Treeborn Products CEO. “This spring we’ve had six big new orders, and more than 60 breweries are in different phases of brewing test batches with our chips as of June. We can’t wait to see their results in the fall.”

Treeborn partners with a number of local and national breweries. Michigan is the nation’s leading chestnut producer, according to the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture.

Treeborn Products is housed inside the Rogers Reserve in Jackson. The Rogers Reserve was donated to MSU to grow and study chestnut trees, and includes labs, offices and the only commercial chestnut peeling line in the western hemisphere.

The MSU Innovation Center works with innovative students and faculty alike to help move their ideas into the marketplace. MSU Innovation Center works collaboratively in launching more than 130 discoveries into patented products, commercial agreements and startup businesses each year.

“Treeborn’s products connect two growing industries in Michigan: chestnuts and microbreweries, while providing new options for gluten-free consumers,” said David Washburn, executive director of Spartan Innovations, part of the MSU Innovation Center. “The partnerships Treeborn builds with local brewers not only stimulates Michigan’s economy, but builds a stronger network of small business support.”