SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A big change could hit breweries – and their bottom line. The Food and Drug Administration is considering changing how breweries get rid of their grains, and some say it will impact the consumer.
“There’s still plenty of protein in there,” said Glynn Phillips, owner of Sacramento’s Rubicon Brewing Company.
Grains are waiting for a farmer to come pick up. He’ll use them to feed his cattle.
“He would have to go out and purchase that grain. We give it to him at no cost,” Phillips said.
For more than two decades, Phillips has been giving his grain to the same farmer. In one week, he’ll have ten barrels of spent grains.
“The grains that we have are full of nutrition. It’s a good, clean organic feed,” Phillips said.
Spent grains are what remain after brewers extract the flavor, color and fermented sugars out of the hops to make beer.
“The grains all come wet, sort of like a porridge-type mixture,” Philips said.
But, the FDA is considering new safety standards for brewers and the grains they’ve been giving to farmers.
“The real problem is they want us to dry [the grains],” Philips said.
Drying the grain would be costly, Philips says, and could drive up the cost of a pint of beer on his end – and be worse for the farmers.
“It’s going to drive milk prices up and beef prices up, potentially, because he is going to have to buy more grain to feed his cows,” Philips said.
Philips thinks the FDA wants to know the exact process of the food chain, starting with what the cows are eating. He says he doesn’t know of any cows becoming sick after eating the spent grains, and believes if something isn’t broke, why fix it?
“It will change the way brewers have been doing business and the way brewers have been doing this since the founding of this country,” Philips said.
There are about 400 craft breweries in California alone and Philips says only a few could afford to dry their grain. Philips says if his farmer isn’t allowed to pick up the grain, he would have to pay to have them hauled away.