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"We're pretty sure this is something that can grow and help more beef producers in Western North Carolina," said Morgan, who started producing beef cattle about three years ago after getting out of the family dairy cattle business in 1995. Today, Morgan has a herd of about 80 Red Angus cows.
"They love it," Morgan said one recent afternoon on his Leicester farm after feeding his herd a load of the milled barley that Asheville Pizza uses in its beer making process.
LEICESTER Martin Morgan's cows go crazy for craft beer.
"Our goal is to keep the grain close to home to benefit small, local farmers. It's a great source of protein for the cows and the farmers love it," she said. that goes to make beer, according to Charles Russell, a company sales representative. The company receives about one or two tractor trailer loads of spent grain from Oskar Blues in Brevard and sells it for close to $50 a ton, he said.
served at Asheville Pizza's location on Coxe Avenue and just last week, Morgan's beef was added to the menu at Asheville Pizza's Merrimon location.
The first of the three new WNC breweries, Colorado based Oskar Blues Adidas Los Angeles Anni 80 Brewing, opened its East Coast brewery in Brevard in December. As of February, the brewery is producing 80 tons of wet spent grain per week, according to spokeswoman Anne Fitten Glenn, and that number will continue to increase as the brewery ramps up production. Oskar Blues sells its spent grain to Commodities Specialists Co., which acts as the middleman between the brewer and farmers.
beef cattle has been edging downward for the past decade.
More to the point, Morgan's herd of Red Angus cattle can't get enough of a major craft beer byproduct the spent grain that's left after the beer is brewed. Morgan has been feeding cows first dairy cows, and now beef cattle Adidas Los Angeles Grey And Black
Cattle feed on spent grain from breweries
The partnership between craft brewers and cow farmers also provides a neat circle of production. Since last October, Morgan Farms Angus Beef has been Adidas Los Angeles Green Carbon
By comparison, Highland Brewing in Asheville makes about 30,000 barrels of beer annually and produces about 6,000 to 7,000 pounds of wet spent grain a day, according to owner Oscar Wong. The brewery gives its grain to a local farmer.
New Belgium has also pledged cash to the Bent Creek Institute, which is developing technology to extract a high value cellulose used by neutriceutical and gluten free industries, the company said in a written release.
"They wanted to find out how they could have access to it without having a national company come in as a for profit middleman," Ward said.
Aside from feed for cattle, spent grain can be used in baked goods, to make biofuel and as a coating for pills.
"The savings could be reinvested in their herd to increase production, increase farm labor jobs and also increase family income for rural farmers," Ward said. Department of Agriculture, the most for a county in WNC, though Haywood County was a close second with 6,200. The number was up 100 head for each county compared to the year before. Statewide, the number of Adidas Neo Grey Womens
Since forming, the group has been working to create a "capacity for consumption" over the next few years to handle the 30 to 40 tractor trailer loads of grain that will be produced each week, Ward said. That volume would require 12,000 to 16,000 head of cattle as a consumption base, he said. The plan is that WNC Brewers Grain would contract a carrier to transport the spent grain to farmers at below market costs, Ward said, to create savings for the farmer.
spent grain from Asheville Pizza Brewing's brewery for 15 years.
"All of our spent grain goes to local farmers. We have three right now. The biggest is Everett Farms Natural Beef in Pisgah Forest," Glenn said. The farm has about 500 head of Red Angus cows.
The brew to moo connection between small craft brewers and local farmers isn't new, but with one big new brewery already open in Brevard and two more set to open over the next two years, the amount of spent grain, and the need to dispose of it, will increase exponentially.
The potential for tons more spent grain caught the attention of the not for profit development organization WNC Communities. The organization supports community development and agricultural initiatives across the region. It created a separate company, WNC Brewers Grain LLC, to begin to plan for the increase. Ward, vice president of WNC Communities.
The copious amount of grain has the potential to energize the relatively small beef cattle industry in the mountains. There are already plans to bring the brewers together with area cattle farmers to formalize a supply system. Meantime, other potential uses are being explored. Spent grain can be used to make everything from bread and biofuel to pill coatings.
New Belgium has already pledged $10,000 to help WNC Brewers Grain get established. The overall goal, the company said in a written statement, is "to preserve small family farms by subsidizing their feed costs and freeing up land to grow cash crops of greater value than cattle feed."
Cows can't eat brewers grain alone. In Leicester, Morgan feeds his cows the spent grain, but he also feeds them grass and hay. The pasture raised cows reach a finish weight of about 1,300 pounds, then are shipped to Taylorsville for processing. Morgan receives ground beef in return, which he supplies to Asheville Pizza.
Oskar Blues is the smallest of the newcomers. Sierra Nevada Brewing plans to open its new East Coast brewery later this year. It will initially make about 350,000 barrels of beer a year, but could expand to 750,000. New Belgium Brewing, which is building a new brewery in Asheville, is planning on a 400,000 barrel capacity.
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