TimberFish site
TimberFish Technologies Western New York facility is pictured September 15, 2017. Jon R. Hand

Drinking beer could actually help save the planet and feed some fish. Two businesses based in Westfield, New York, joined forces on a project that aims to convert distillery and brewery water waste and grains into fish feed.

TimberFish Technologies and Five & 20 Spirits and Brewery's initiative serves as perhaps an important new way to reduce waste costs and simultaneously create fish food.

The two businesses have been working together to develop this project since 2012. The concept would allow for a more standardized way of catching and cultivating seafood, according to NPR. Five & 20's brewery and distillery produces roughly between 750 and 1,000 gallons of wastewater and grain scraps daily. The pair's system would take piles of the distillery's wastewater and grain discards and convert them into an energy-filled material.

It would also help to reduce the environmental pollution and rising populations that pose a threat to the world's future food supply and safety.

"We had actually built the initial part of this system last year," Jere Northrop, managing partner of Timberfish, told International Business Times on Wednesday. "Then we did some retrofitting and scaled it up. Our basic experience with treating the waste proved to work very successfully.

"We started raising fish in September," Northrop added.

The project presents many benefits. Recycling and repurposing waste from the distillery allows Five & 20 to have a more sustainable approach to its production of fish, according to Five & 20's website. It would also enable the sale of high-quality fish at a more appealing price to consumers, among other factors.

"[Having the] capability from a production standpoint of being able to handle the waste stream from our end and not having to worry about that, having that scalable — that's a fantastic booster from our side," Joe Nelson, a distiller at Five & 20, said Wednesday to IBT. "That takes a load off of our production capacity and our production staff of having to figure out a way to handle that."

TimberFish is currently using four different species of freshwater fish in the project. Rainbow trout and yellow perch are among the species being used at TimberFish's facility. The fish will be served at Five & 20's on-site restaurant, Bird, by spring 2018. It will be a very select group initially, but it is expected to grow as TimberFish enhances its current system.

"Working with TimberFish provides us with a novel way to create a value added product from what would otherwise be a significant waste stream from the brewing and distilling operations," Mario Mazza, General Manager and Enologist at Mazza Vineyards and Five & 20, said in a statement issued to IBT.

"Not only are we able to be more sustainable, but we have the opportunity to contribute to a technology that has a positive potential impact for the region and beyond."

"I get excited every time I have the opportunity to take someone on a tour through the facility and make the connection from grain fields to whiskey or beer production and now to Timberfish," Mazza added.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in September that the high-tech fish production facility would be planting roots in Western New York. Not only would the facility be able to create between 200 to 300 jobs in the region, but it is also said to be capable of producing 20,000 pounds of high-quality fish annually by pumping waste from the distillery into pipes that would clean it.