Local brewery gives spent grains to ranchers for cattle

Posted at 2:36 PM, Nov 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-12 12:01:49-05

A brewery in Salado is teaming up with local ranchers to dispose of spent grains.

Barrow Brewing Company opened back in April, and quickly realized they needed to find a way to get rid of the spent grains.

"After the completion of a brew day, we have something like 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of what we call spent grain," Jack Shuff, a brewer at Barrow Brewing Company said. "It's wet. It doesn't have a whole lot of sugar left in it but it's got proteins, carbohydrates and it is a serious pain to dispose of through like waste disposal."

Shuff said the grains won't keep for much longer than a couple of hours after a brew, so they needed to find someone within a few hours drive to take it off their hands.

The brewery owners, Graydon and KD Hill, approached some local ranchers, Joseph and Sara Lewis, about taking the spent grain to give to their cattle.

"We said we'll give it a try. It's free to us," Joseph Lewis said. "I had no idea whether [the cows] would eat it or not."

The brewery makes beer about twice a week. After every brew, they load up the spent grains and the Lewis' take it about 20 minutes away to their ranch.

"Ranchers get a couple days feed out of it and we don't have to pay the waste disposal fees. We just have to hook them up with the grain, they pick it up and everyone's happy," Shuff said.

When Joseph and Sara drive the tractor down the hill towards the cattle, the cattle start running towards them.

"I like to watch that," Joseph said.

Joseph and Sara said the cows love the spent grains.

"They know what the bin the grains are in looks like," Sara said. "Sometimes they even meet us at the gate."

Shuff and the Lewis' said they think the cows like it so much because it's not their normal feed.

Both sides win in the battle for sustainability. 

"It's a symbiotic relationship. We have something that they need. It's sustainable. It's a great way to reduce waste stream tonnage going into a place that it will never be recovered in any meaningful way," Shuff said. "They don't have to pay for the feed and we don't have to pay to have like 1,500 pounds of wet solid waste disposed. Both of those things are expensive and so everyone wins. It's a really nice deal."

For more information about the brewery, visit their website

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