They say two heads are better than one. In the business world, teaming up with other companies is just plain efficient. Aside from that, taking something that someone would likely throw away and in turn, making something with it, is taking sustainability to a whole new level. So, after several years of dreaming up a business plan, Kira Campbell and her husband Trip teamed up together with local craft breweries to create Little Growlers Dog Treats. Their company bakes and sells healthy dog treats made from upcycled, spent beer grains. These grains are the bi-product of the leftover malt and its components.
Looking back, they had this idea a few years ago, but the time just wasn’t right. So, she and her husband started small by baking treats for their own pets. Fast forward to this fall. For the first time in fourteen years, all of Kira’s little ones would be in school. Therefore, it was time to get this idea up and running on a larger scale.
Kira had this to share about their business, “We’ve learned a lot about how pet treats fall under different categories under the Department of Agriculture. It has been tricky. We’re not really trying to do what they do–feed animals on a large scale. We jumped through a lot of hoops. Thankfully there have been some helpful mentors at the state level to help us navigate.”
Teaming Up with Local Craft Breweries
When asked how the process works, she stated, “Part of the reason we thought of this idea was because my husband is a craft beer fan, and I’m a huge pet person. We noticed that the more we visited local breweries we realized many are dog friendly. This is a very growing and present connection as a whole. I start by reaching out to local breweries to get the conversation started. In turn, they donate the spent grains. However, these are grains that have no hops in them–hops are toxic to dogs. A lot of places donate their grains to farmers. They can compost or do other things on a larger scale for their livestock. However, many breweries would otherwise dispose of them!”
Balancing Work & Mom Life
You can find Kira running their daily business in between running her kids to school and activities. She also manages a part time job with their church and invests time in her family’s health with doTerra essential oils. You might think that because her kids are in school, she must have loads of time. However, that’s not the case. She commented, “Because we’re a startup business, I’m doing it all–marketing, baking, packaging, accounting, and all in those little gaps of time when my kids are not at home. After all the kids are gone, it’s just a short period of time until one gets home from school or needs a ride somewhere!”
It’s All in the Treats
What’s in these delicious dog treats? Simple, healthy, and few ingredients. Little Growlers makes these delicious puppy snacks with the spent beer grains, wheat flour, eggs, and peanut butter. “There are awesome health benefits for dogs versus the mass produced treats you can normally buy at the store,” Kira shared.
Their business, although small, is growing. You can find their dog treats at local breweries around town such as Unmapped Brewing in Excelsior, MN, or at local boutique stores like Chema Malu in Anoka, MN.
Coming up on December 14, 2019, Little Growlers will be making its local debut at the Hometown Artisan Market Holiday Edition in Andover, MN. Find the details for this event using this link here.
Mention Band of Mamas blog and you’ll receive $1.00 off your first bag of treats! Also, any new followers of Little Growlers on Facebook will be entered into a drawing for a free large bag of treats (drawing held Dec. 18).