Spent grains have a long history in animal feeding. Before the industrial revolution, farms and monasteries in Europe brewed their own beer and fed their livestock with the resulting byproducts. Wet spent grains have the protein, fiber, and energy concentration of WBG make them a suitable supplement in ruminant (livestock) diet. The protein concentration and high fiber concentration of spent grains support rumen function and animal production. Wet spent grains are a good source of protein with a crude protein content that ranges from 25-34%. The protein is mainly located in the germ portion of the spent grain and is digested to a limited extent in the rumen and to a greater extent in the small intestine. Also, spent grains are terrific for the local economy with a maximum economical distance for hauling from a brewery of less than 200 miles.
The current draft of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), requires that spent grain for animal feed be dried and prepackaged onsite in a manner that does not touch human hands. This undue burden on brewers will effectively remove spent grains from the livestock food cycle. The nutritious grains will simply placed in the dumpster, rather support our local livestock producers. Wet spent grains left outside the brewery spoil quickly, and can become a source of environmental nuisances, including water pollution. Using spent grains as animal feed alleviates the environmental impact of the brewing process. It is simply environmentally and economically responsible to make spent grains available to agriculture.