Feed Bites

National Beer Day – Celebrating a Great Source of Feed for Livestock

Written by: Sarah Novak   |   April 7, 2020

Ingredients, Co-products, Holidays, Animal nutrition

As many of you know, I’m from Wisconsin, so you would think I know all about National Beer Day, but that is not the case. When I was assigned this blog, I had to do some research. So, let’s start with how National Beer Day started.

National Beer Day – Why April 7?

Its origins go back to 1919, when Congress passed the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the sale, transportation and production of alcohol in the United States. This marked the start of the Prohibition era, or as we called it in Wisconsin, the “foolish time.” But, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office 14 years later, he signed the Cullen-Harrison Act, which once again made selling and consuming low-alcohol beverages, such as beer and wine, legal in the United States. The act passed on March 22, 1933, and went into effect on April 7, 1933, hence the date of April 7. National Beer Day really didn’t become “a thing” until 2009, when two men from Virginia began to promote it (I knew living in Virginia is a good thing!). National Beer Day was officially recognized by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in 2017.

All About Beer

Beer is one the oldest (and most widely consumed) alcoholic drinks in the word. Some say it’s the third most popular drink in the world after water and tea! Beer is made from four basic ingredients – a cereal grain, such as barley, corn, wheat, sorghum/milo, rye or rice; water; hops (for flavor); and yeast. The simple process is to extract the sugars from the grains so that the yeast can turn it into alcohol and carbon dioxide via fermentation, thus creating beer.

Co-Products from Beer Production – Great Source of Feed for Livestock and Poultry

During this process, there are parts of the cereal grains and yeast extract that is not used. In the case of the cereal grains, once the starch (or sugar) has been removed from the grain, the leftover is the protein, energy (oil) and fiber. This co-product is commonly referred to as brewers grains. There are a few other co-products of beer or malting barley production including malt sprouts, malt hulls and dried spent hops. These are also all co-products from either beer production or from malting barley production and are very valuable feed ingredients.

Brewers grains can be dried into a coarse product or fed “wet.” Typically, the wet product is used as a feed ingredient for cattle that are close to the brewery, since shipping wet products can be expensive. The dried product can be shipped across the U.S. and fed to all types of livestock.

So, when you sit down today to celebrate National Beer Day with a cold drink (or two) to enjoy the world’s third favorite beverage, remember, that you are helping feed cattle, pigs and chickens as well! Cheers!

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