Unique beer-brewing with an environmental difference flies SA flag high

Innovators: Dean Smorenburg and Dominic Malan utilise an innovative and environmentally friendly beer brewing process. Picture: Supplied

Innovators: Dean Smorenburg and Dominic Malan utilise an innovative and environmentally friendly beer brewing process. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 11, 2024


Award-winning Black Soldier Fly Factory in Cape Town has unveiled its unique beer brewing which is said to be transforming the traditional way of beer brewing through a process that converts agro-processing waste, including spent grains from the beer industry, into high-performance, nutrient-dense proteins, and oils for pet and aquaculture feed.

This Cape Town based team of skilled scientists from the Maltento team is true testament to the quality of South Africa’s highly skilled scientists and engineers who are at the forefront of innovation with their deft sustainability practices, and world-renowned innovation in the insect biotechnology space.

After winning the Startup Club ZA award in November 2023, and having recently secured a substantial R12 million grant from the German Development Bank, Maltento team is carving a niche as key players in South Africa’s sustainable agricultural landscape.

Maltento COO, Jaysen Golding says the team of brewers use spent brewers’ grain which is ingested by fly larvae at the Maltento Fly Farm, enriching their natural ability to produce functional proteins, healthy fats, and essential amino acids. Beyond protein, soldier fly larvae also produces frass, a by-product (excrement of the spent brewery grains) with substantial nutritional value.

He says frass serves as a composted soil amendment product, enhancing soil fertility, building plant immunology, promoting nutrient cycling, and improving soil structure.

“Frass can be used in a closed-loop system for fields where brewery grains are cultivated, creating a sustainable cycle that regenerates the soil and contributes to healthy grain growth. This closed-loop system is free of heavy metals and pesticides. Our factory currently diverts approximately 400,000 kg of agro-processing waste and by-products every month, and we project that we’ll reach up to 600,000 kg per month by year-end,” says Golding.

According to Golding, this innovative method does not only revolutionises the pet food and beer industries but also positions South African scientists as global leaders in agro-processing and sustainability practices within the beer industry. In short, Maltento can officially confirm that brewing beer in South Africa is good for our pets and the planet.

Golding reveals that the team which comprises 65 employees at the 7000 m2 factory in Cape Town, has successfully produced 75 metric tonnes of product since its operations began and aims to reach a whopping 100 metric tonnes by June 2024.

To make this a reality, Maltento is calling on all large-scale breweries across the country to align themselves with its vision for improved agricultural practices within the beer brewing sector by joining them in making the industry more sustainable.

“By taking recycled waste from the beer-making process and feeding it to the larvae, its team can create a feed solution that is both functionally, economically, and environmentally friendlier than animal-based protein, which uses 95x more natural resources per kilogram than insect-based protein. The black soldier fly protein is also hypo-allergenic, contains antimicrobial peptides, and can offer support for overall gut health in pets and fish,” Golding quips.

Saturday Star