San Diego brewers are feeling heightened frustration over a new rule proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that could impact their businesses – as well as trickle down onto farmers.
The FDA’s proposed rule would make it harder for breweries to sell leftover grains – an alcohol-free, edible byproduct of beer – to farmers who use it as animal feed. The rule imposes new sanitary handling procedures, record keeping and other food safety processes on the part of livestock and pet food manufacturers.
If adopted, the rule could force brewers to dump their wet grain into landfills instead of selling it to farmers to use as cheap livestock feed, or force brewers take extra time to dry it out and package it before allowing farmers to use it.
Some brewers believe the proposed rule is burdensome and unnecessary, and goes against the grain of the longstanding relationship between brewers and farmers.
At San Diego’s Karl Strauss Brewery some brewmasters, including Paul Segura, are hopping mad over the idea.
“It’s frustrating and puzzling – and curious to us,” Segura said.
The Karl Strauss facility generates 16,000 pounds of spent grain each day. In turn, this grain helps feed 750 cows belonging to a local dairy farmer.
Segura worries that drying out the grain could prove costly and time-consuming.
“It means extra costs, extra equipment, extra processes and extra people. All sorts of added expenses that weren’t there before,” he explained.
It could also lead to a serious buzzkill for consumers if those costs creep into the price of future cold ones.
Krystina Cook, owner of Cook Pigs Ranch, said the price of pork could also go up as well, considering it takes more than 2,000 pounds of spent grain to feed the more than 500 pigs on her ranch in Julian, Calif.
“We rely on that [grain] every week to fill in with other feed products and the amount of money we’ll have to spend to recover that is a lot. It’s sad,” she told NBC 7.
The FDA is supposed to make a decision on this new rule sometime this summer.