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Senior Advisor

The government in it's infinite wisdom

Cracking down on the beer brewers and diary farmers.




A fight is brewing between American beer makers and the federal government over happy hour ... for cows.

For centuries, brewers have given or sold the leftover grain from the brewing process to local ranchers and dairy farmers for cattle feed. But new regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration threaten to end that relationship.

"The whole brewing community was shocked about it," said Josh Deth, co-owner of Revolution Brewing in Chicago, Ill.

Deth, whose title is "Chairman of the Party," says it's always been a great deal for both sides. The ranchers get the grain, and the brewers get those leftovers removed from their facilities for free.

"We're trading, giving something of value to each other and working it out. I think that's one of the really great things, and people really hate to see the government get involved in something where they can just as easily stay out of this."

Under the FDA's proposed regulations, so-called spent grains would be regulated the same as pet food.

Deth said the regulations would make it far too costly for him to prepare the grains to be passed along to farmers. The only remaining option would be sending it to a landfill, which would cost more than $100,000 a year.

That would be bad for dairy and cattle farmers like Jim Minich, who gets 30 tons of spent grain from Revolution Brewing each week. Not only does the grain save him more than $100,000 a year in feed costs, his 750 cows also produce more milk after chowing down on their "happy hour."

"I mean it's just basically grain and it's got a lot of yeast in it and it's wet, so it adds to the palatability of the feed so they eat more," he said.

2 Replies
gough whitlam
Senior Contributor

Re: The government in it's infinite wisdom

Why don't you add the real reason the Feds are stepping in instead automatically taking the anti government stance as usual.
Senior Contributor

Re: The government in it's infinite wisdom

Not surprised.   Extra regulations have really cut down the number of places one can give away food to.   For example, we used to be able to donate some venison from our deer hunts to charity, but no longer.   Don't know why, it was every bit as safe to eat as beef, if fully cooked.   Anyway, it was only a matter of time for this to trickle down to animals.