Mellie-Mel, the Minnesota Beer Activist, emailed me a story about a small-scale pig farmer who relies on spent brewing grain for feed. The spent grain, which he collects for free from area brewers, helps offset the cost of buying commercial corn feed. The price of corn has been rising due to demand from the burgeoning market for corn-based ethanol fuel (which it should be noted is not the only raw input that can make ethanol – in fact, experts say it is actually one of the least efficient sources for ethanol, and furthermore I’ve actually blogged about how brewers themselves are now producing ethanol from brewery waste).
It is an ironic twist that this demand for corn is benefiting Minneapolis area brewers by increasing demand for their draff since on the flipside German brewers are being negatively effected by the demand for corn ethanol – so many European farmers have switched from barley to corn that the cost of brewers malt has doubled in Germany.
Here’s the article about the pig farmer. I’m more for using spent grain for compost than for animal feed but at least this guy is small scale, not a factory farmer. And here’s an earlier post about the rising cost of malt. I’ve also written about the best uses of spent grain here (and of course I also cover this in my book).