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U of G students' soybean-based liqueur is a real winner

5th Bean liqueur captures the 23rd annual Project Soy competition to create new products from Ontario soybeans
Fermented tofu whey doesn’t sound like something that could be turned into a tasty alcoholic beverage, but a group of University of Guelph students have done just that.
The team of Sean Mitchell, Timothy Shuh and Mitch Rice used that tofu waste product to help create 5th Bean liqueur, a creamy alcoholic beverage reminiscent of Baileys Irish Cream.
The product recently captured first place in the U of G’s Project Soy competition, where students team up to create innovative soy-based products.
Past winners include soy-based condoms and a variety of soy-based packaging.
“We decided to make an alcoholic beverage out of soy because it hasn’t really been done in North America before,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell, Shuh and Rice, who all come from farming families, didn’t know each other seven months ago when professors brought them together to work on a project for the competition.
Over seven months it took a lot of trial and error to finally come up with the right tofu whey and the right yeast and sugar to properly ferment the product. The alcohol created there had cream and flavouring added to make 5th Bean.
The name comes from the soy farmer’s version of a four leaf clover, where a soybean pod containing five beans is extremely rare.
Their product was chosen from a dozen at the 23rd annual Project Soy competition.
“The idea behind the competition is to create demand for domestic soybean use in Ontario,” Mitchell said, adding that most soybeans grown here are shipped to Asia.
It garnered a prize of $2,500 and more importantly captured the attention of the U of G HUB Incubator program where business ideas are nurtured and hopefully brought to market.
Currently only 10 bottles of 5th bean exist.
The product is vegan, locally sourced, lactose intolerant and a plant-based protein, which are all part of the marketing.
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