MSU Startup Supplies Roasted Chestnuts for Brewing Process


Treeborn Products, a Michigan State University startup, has partnered with more than 60 breweries, including Ann Arbor’s Grizzly Peak Brewing Co. and Bellaire’s Short’s Brewing Co., to roast chestnuts used in the brewing process for flavor.

“This spring we’ve had six big new orders, and more than 60 breweries are in different phases of brewing test batches with our (chestnut) chips as of June,” says Brian Polowniak, CEO of Treeborn Products. “We can’t wait to see their results in the fall.”

The company craft-roasts chestnuts that are used in the brewing process for a variety of ales, stouts, and porters. Polowniak says the craft-roasting process helps maximize the chestnuts’ natural flavor, which is sweet and nutty, and allows the chestnuts to be used in the form of chips.

Treeborn Products, which has an office in East Lansing, operates out of the Rogers Reserve in Jackson. The reserve has leased a portion of its space to MSU serving as a research facility for the university, and includes labs, offices, and a commercial chestnut peeling line.

Other beers that incorporate the company’s chestnuts include Dexter-based Jolly Pumpkin’s Fuego del Otono, Perrin’s Chestnut Brown, and Short’s Bellaire Brown. Glutenberg in Montreal, Canada also uses Treeborn’s chestnuts in its Glutenberg Red.

Michigan is the nation’s leading chestnut producer says the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture.