Explosive growth in Colorado’s craft-brewing industry produces not only more beer, but more beer byproducts.
That means the hamburger you eat next week may come from a steer happily fed last week with brewing leftovers.
Using spent grains for livestock feed dates to the advent of beer. But with corn and other commodity prices sky high, feedyards increasingly are using brewing byproducts to help fatten cattle in preparation for slaughter.
“They say that Colorado is the Napa Valley of beer, and there are a lot of breweries here producing a lot of spent grain,” said Joe Schiraldi, vice president of brewing operations for Boulder-based Left Hand Brewing.
Shipping processed barley to livestock feeders “really helps their economics,” Schiraldi said. “It’s a great way to direct that waste stream.”
Some brewers give their spent mash away. Others receive about $5 to $10 per ton for the wet grains.