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Alcohol from dairy waste may be headed to tap near you

Dairy that is fermented and brewed like beer could soon be on tap as Sam Alcaine, M.S. ’07, assistant professor in the Department of Food Science, turns dairy waste into a flavorful drink with an alcoholic kick.

The production of Greek yogurt creates acid whey, a leftover liquid with very little protein and few profitable uses. Alcaine, former product innovation manager at Miller Brewing Co., thinks there may be a place for alcoholic dairy beverages made from whey.

But turning dairy into a drinkable alcohol is no simple task. Lactose, a sugar in dairy, cannot be broken down and converted into alcohol by traditional brewer’s yeast. Alcaine’s lab is working on several fronts to form a solution.

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