If you go to almost any brewery (especially in the DFW area), you’ll most likely see a trailer or pallet with wet, used grain on it. Breweries usually sell this grain to local farmers to use as feed. This makes the disposal of the grain easy for the breweries and gives the local farmers cheap feed for their animals. It’s the norm. That may be changing, though.
The Federal Drug Administration has proposed a new act called the Food Safety Modernization Act. This proposal would require brewers to dry and package the grain if it were going to leave the brewery. It would also prevent human contact with the grain. Their reasoning is that it would help limit unwanted exposure to the grain that could potentially harm animals and, in turn, humans that may consume those animals. In theory, that would be good. There’s a downside for brewers, though.
For beer companies, especially small ones, cost the is key. They want to minimize their operating costs to they can lower the costs for the consumers. Having to dry and package grain for sale to farmers could add as much as $10 per barrel of beer. Although it may not seem like much, these small breweries need every penny they can keep. If they were to increase the costs to farmers for the grain, the farmers would most likely find somewhere else to get the feed from. It’s a tough line that they’d have to walk. They have no choice but to fight back.
The North Texas Brewers Guild, which 23 North Texas breweries are a part of, is fighting against the regulations. They submitted a request to the FDA for the exemption of breweries from this proposed law. They cited the reliability of food sources for local farmers and the economic impact the act could have. They also encouraged the other members to submit letters as well. If the act passes without the exemption, it would go into effect next year, and breweries would have to either pay to package their grain for throw it away.