Illinois resident Blake Konrardy created this protein beer to help athletes' recovery after a hard workout.
“I found myself in the unique situation of drinking a protein drink but also drinking some beers,” Konrardy, who has a background in the insurance industry, told BeverageDaily. “My friends called me out. I was sick and tired of getting made fun of for it, so I decided to start brewing my own protein beer.”
‘They don’t want their workouts to get in the way of their weekend’
Konrardy started experimenting with home brewing, where he created two styles of protein-infused brews. Supplemental Brewing’s beers include Brewtein, an American wheat ale with 7g of protein, 5% alcohol and 178 calories, and NutriBeer, a lager with 4g of protein, 4% alcohol and 122 calories.
Whey protein concentrate is used to give the beer its added protein: a source Konrardy said is the most desirable to himself and other fitness enthusiasts.
“These are for runners, weight lifters and athletes looking to get more protein to help muscle growth, but at the same time these are also beer drinkers,” he said. “They don’t want their workouts to get in the way of their weekend, either.”
But how does it taste? For many people, the idea of a protein-packed beer may not sound like the most flavorful drink, but Konrardy said they have gone through multiple batches to get the recipe correct.
“In both of them, you cannot taste the protein one bit,” he said, adding that Brewtein has a “refreshing wheat flavor,” while NutriBeer has a “subtle citrus flavor” from the cascade hops used in the brewing process.
Why protein beer?
There aren’t any similar value-added alcoholic beverages on the market right now, Konrardy said, but he believes that the signs are there that people want this beer.
“There is a demand for it,” he said. “If you look at the last 15 years, fitness center revenue has more than doubled. There are tons of people who care about their fitness. People are health conscious, but at the same time, drinking rates are saying the same. People are still having beers and enjoying their weekend. There’s a conflict there.”
These protein-added brews are a way to merge both worlds, he believes. In Konrardy’s assessment, there just needs to be one initial value-added alcoholic beverage to start a trend in the industry.
“I think we’re the innovators in the space and we’re showing that there really is a market for it,” he said. “Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors, they’re too big to care about something like this that appeals to more of a niche audience … I just think blending beer and fitness together will become more and more prevalent.”
Currently, Konrardy is trying to get the brewery off the ground via Kickstarter, where he has currently built up about $8,000 of his $40,000 fundraising goal.
He wants to immediately take this beer nationwide with the help of an established brewery. Konrardy said they have been in communication with breweries in St. Louis and Chicago interested in working with Supplemental Brewing, but there has been no final decision made on where it would be brewed.