Local businesses often inspire and help provide materials for other local ventures. In places where the craft beer scene is taking off, there are often dog biscuit companies to follow, creating products with the spent grains used by the beer makers.
Companies like Brew Bites in San Diego and Brew Bones in Colorado use this model to make artisanal treats for pups in their area, and Lisa Graham from Cincinnati has developed a similar business with a twist through her company, Brewhaus Dog Bones.
Brewhaus Dog Bones is a non-profit that strives to provide vocational training and work experience for children with disabilities and special education needs. All Brewhaus products are produced by students enrolled in transitional programs — typically students between the ages of 18 to 22 who need vocational training and life skills to help make them as independent as possible — in 14 local school districts, including Cincinnati Public Schools, Milford, Mason and the University of Cincinnati’s Advancement and Transition Services.
As the mother of a disabled child herself, Graham says the biggest inspiration for Brewhaus has been her own daughter.
“Natalie is the motivation behind all this,” Graham said. “And she loves being a part of the business and is very good at it. She loves to cook, bake and we all love animals, especially our dogs.”
Graham has accumulated an impressive list of local breweries that contribute spent grains to her project — spent grains being the leftover malt and adjuncts from the beer-making process. These breweries include big local names such as Listermann, Mt. Carmel, Rivertown and Rhinegeist, as well as Bad Tom Smith, Blank Slate, Paradise, Old Fire House, Fibonacci, Braxton and Ei8ht Ball.
When she first began reaching out to businesses for her project, Graham approached Dan Listermann of Listermann Brewing who she says was absolutely awesome and credits him with many of her original connections around the craft beer scene.
“He was very receptive and seemed to think it was a great idea and helped me make connections to others too that could help, like Thommy Long of Lemon Grenade Creative, the guy who does his beer graphics,” Graham said.
From there, Mt. Carmel and Rivertown jumped on board and the rest followed in tow. Brewhaus was even the first recipient of the Trophy Grant by Braxton Brewing based off sales of their Trophy Beer this past March.
“I have to tell you, the breweries have been fantastic and I cannot say enough good things about this group of people,” Graham said. “My husband says it's because they drink beer all the time but, my gosh, they are so giving and so community-minded and very willing to help and support our mission and purpose.”
“I absolutely could not do this without their support and they've been amazing to help and coordinate with me to get the freshest grains and help promote and sell the product.”
All of Brewhaus’ proceeds return back to the program to help it grow and there are no administrative costs whatsoever. You can find these tasty dog treats at www.brewhausdogbones.com, plus Cincinnati vendors like Cincy Brew Bus, Dutch’s Larder and the Country Fresh Farm Markets.