Beer-Flavoured Ice Cream

Research Area: Agri-food  | Status:  Complete| Led By: Faculty- and Student-led

The Challenge

Modern brewing operations produce a significant volume of waste by‐products composed of grains, hops, and unrecoverable liquid leftover from the brewing process. The largest by‐product of brewing is spent grains—wet grains leftover from the production of wort. This represents approximately 85% of the total by‐product. In 2018, it was estimated that 38 million tons of spent grains were produced globally.   

Pump House Group in Moncton wanted to explore food product development opportunities that would make use of their brewery wastes and beer products. Pump House Group’s operations include beer production, spirits distilling, bottling, a brewpub, two restaurants, and a taproom. Their primary focus is beer production. Their beer is sold domestically, in the USA, and in Europe. They own several notable brands, including Pump House, Crafty Radler, and Venerdi Italian Seltzer.

The Solution

Beer-flavored Ice Cream

A team of three NBCC Culinary Arts Management students led by Chef-Instructor Shawn Mathews assessed the feasibility of incorporating brewing by-products as flavourings for ice cream and other frozen desserts. This team used classic culinary techniques to explore and refine recipes, serving formats, and brewery products in terms of both flavour and cost. Mathews was partially released from teaching and the students were hired as research assistants to work on this project outside of class time.

To support this project, NBCC Instructor Wendy Nason asked her second-year Business Administration: Marketing class to conduct market research as part of their coursework. The students conducted primary research by distributing samples of the ice cream products and collecting feedback from students and staff at the NBCC Moncton campus. The class also conducted secondary research, including a review of currently available beer-inspired ice cream flavours and an overview of the ice cream industry.

About the Collaboration

Group Photo

Pump House supplied the spent grains and beer flavours. Chef Shawn Mathews guided the students in the spent grain and ice cream processing and testing. The team developed some original ice cream recipes that leveraged brewery product and by-products to create original flavours. In total, three recipes were developed for three Pump House products (Muddy River Stout, Crafty Radler, Blueberry Ale) with several variations on the ingredients (chocolate, s’more, maple walnut, vegan, etc.) and format (pint, popsicle).

Marketing student research also produced several insights for Pump House, including identification of a preference for three products and preliminary indications of consumer preferences related to branding, price point, product format, and market segment.

This project was made possible thanks to funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Engage program.


The applied research program—I think it’s a win-win in all aspects. Sometimes in the restaurant and food business and beer business, we don’t have enough time to do all the research ourselves. So why not bring NBCC in and students in with a different view on how they see our brands. So it’s great to see: rejuvenating our business, rejuvenating us.

Kolin Barley, Owner, Pump House Brewery and Brewpub

When we got to actually meet Pump House it made everything so real. They were talking about actually putting this product in Sobey’s one day. And it’s really crazy to think that something you put your hands on might actually end up like that.

Destiny Walsh, NBCC Culinary Arts Management student

I would definitely recommend this to any other students. It’s an amazing experience to be able to create a product and develop it.

Jeremie Kerry, NBCC Culinary Arts Management student

Project Partners/Funders


Pump House Brewery



About Applied Research and Innovation
NBCC’s Applied Research and Innovation office helps businesses and communities find solutions to their challenges. Through its expertise, equipment, and facilities, NBCC helps its partners to solve problems, take advantage of market opportunities, and develop new, innovative processes that will enhance how New Brunswickers live, work and do business.