Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Students invent powdered beer

The Associated Press

        FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Two Purdue University students found a way to give beer lovers the taste of lager on their food.

        The pair developed a freeze-dried powder, derived from beer, that can be sprinkled on popcorn, chips and other snacks just like a spice.

        The idea was part of a college project.

        Luke Meyers, a graduate of Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, and lab partner Michelle Kelly of Westerville, Ohio, froze a nonalcoholic beer and converted the water in the beer to vapor.

        They went on to freeze-dry light and dark beers, both of which maintained their flavor once turned to powder.

        When Mr. Meyers told his friends he was creating a beer-flavored spice, some scoffed.

        “They'd rather drink the beer,” he said.

        But after the experiment, Mr. Meyers' professor and classmates found that they enjoyed the powdered brew.

        “I thought it tasted just like beer,” Mr. Meyers' professor, Martin Okos, told the Journal Gazette in a story published Sunday.

        Purdue may consider pursuing a patent on the product. The school would keep half the money made from the powder, Mr. Okos would earn 25 percent of the profits and Mr. Meyers and Ms. Kelly would split the remaining 25 percent.

        Mr. Okos said that aside from spicing up food, the product could be used by hikers and campers. Much like instant coffee, the powdered beer could be re-created with carbonated water and alcohol.

        Mr. Meyers graduated earlier this month with two majors, one in agriculture and biological engineering and another in biochemistry.

        His focus was on food process engineering.


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- Students invent powdered beer