The Magnificent Chestnut and TREEBORN

Chestnuts are pretty rare in most of North America. Once one of the most important trees in the forest of the Appalachian Mountains, it was taken out by a relentless invasive disease called chestnut blight that killed 4 billion trees in about 50 years. Luckily, some trees continued to sprout, but they rarely produce nuts.  You may be familiar with the Christmas Song ("Chestnuts roasting on an open fire") but studies indicate that most Americans have never eaten a chestnut. 

Chances are your first chestnut will be tasted in a Michigan or Tennessee beer brewed with TREEBORN'S chestnut chips. 

Why Michigan?  In Michigan, we found populations of chestnut trees that survived chestnut blight due to a naturally occurring biological controL--THE ONLY PLACE IN NORTH AMERICA WHERE POPULATIONS OF CHESTNUT TREES HAD BLIGHT BUT WERE SURVIVING.  Researchers found that chestnut blight disease got messed up with its own disease allowing the trees to continuing growing.  Today, Michigan chestnut growers farm chestnuts in their orchards and harvest the chestnuts each fall. The trees still get chestnut blight, but we use that naturally occurring biological control found in Michigan to keep the orchard trees alive and producing nuts. Michigan now has more growers and more acreage devoted to chestnut production than any other state. 


TREEBORN purchases these chestnuts from the growers and turns them into chestnut chips.  These dehydrated tiny wafers of sweet-nuttiness  can be milled into a gluten-free flour or used in the brewing industry. Traditionally, beer in Europe was brewed with chestnut flour, but TREEBORN'S Chestnut Chips are not as messy as flour and expose the surface area of sliced nuts to the boil or wort allowing the transfer of flavors and sugars to the hot liquids. Being a low fat nut reduces the foam and the head. 

Now you can experience a real nut brown ale made with real nuts!

By definition, beer is composed of water, barley, yeast and hops.  Other foods and organic items are   are included for flavorings and unique marketing.  Chestnuts are born on the great sustainably grown chestnut trees found in Michigan's orchards.  Adding chestnuts to beer is a reminder that we are bringing back the chestnut and it is only natural that we place them back in our forests, farms and beer. 

We began TREEBORN with the purpose preparing the best product for the best beers.  Three gold medal beers later, we live our motto:  "Chestnuts really do make beer taste better." 


For a Crains Detroit Business article on TREEBORN, INC. please click here 🌰 


This is what our team knows and we want to share it with you—

Chestnut is the nut with the lowest percentage of fat usually around 5 percent or lower.

Depending on use it can add:  A rich smooth flavor, or a rough, natural, unfinished, hard edged flavor.

It can be an important ingredient in gluten-free beers.

Although chestnuts grow on trees, the nutrition profile is similar to a grain.

Chestnut can have multiple uses in beer.

Chestnut has been a traditional ingredient in gold medal award winning beers in Europe and North America.

Chestnuts are locally grown in Michigan and Michigan is number one in the number of chestnut orchards and acreage in the US.

Chestnut grows on large sustainable trees that can live for hundreds of years sequestering carbon from the atmosphere and making decay resistance wood as well as delicious sweet nuts.

Chestnut trees can grow an inch in diameter each year. 

Who is Treeborn?

About Us

Treeborn is an S corporation that purchases chestnuts from local chestnut farms in Michigan or the closest chestnut farm if chestnuts are not available in Michigan. We peel and process the chestnuts and produce dried chestnut products including chestnut chips and raw and roasted chestnut flour/powder. We also sell peeled frozen chestnuts to distributors. Our roots are an outgrowth of the Michigan chestnut growers cooperative Chestnut Growers, Inc. (CGI) and research at Michigan State University. Our primary purpose is to provide Chestnut Chips for the brewing industry and high quality flour for everyone and especially those people with celiac disease. Our employees are shareholders, and have invested in the company since they believe in the Michigan approach taken by Treeborn. We are currently working with about 15 breweries producing award winning beers, and work with a flour distributor (Woodland Foods, Waukegan, IL) to provide the highest quality chestnut flour available. Treeborn has doubled its business in the first two years since it launched.

Our Team

Left to right, Dennis Fulbright, Vice President for Product Development; Brian Polowniak, CEO; and Roger Blackwell, Vice President for Business Development, enjoying glasses of beer at Roak Brewery, Royal Oak, Michigan.