Tester, Walsh protect Montana’s brewers, distillers, and ranchers

Obama Administration drops proposed rule after pressure from Montana’s senators

(U.S. SENATE)-Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh scored a win this week for Montana brewers, distillers and ranchers by getting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to drop a proposal that would have hurt these small businesses’ bottom lines.

In a letter to the FDA earlier this year, Tester and Walsh demanded the agency drop its proposal to require ranchers, brewers, and distillers to comply with new regulations if spent grain – a brewing and distilling byproduct – was made available for animal feed. The Senators said this long-standing practice was “mutually beneficial to ranchers and brewers” and called on the Administration to make sure its proposal make sense on the ground.

“Folks on the ground know when rules make sense and when they don’t,” Tester said. “Ranchers’ use of spent grains is a long-standing practice that benefits Montana communities and businesses. I’m glad to see the Administration listened to Montanans and backed off its proposal.”

“Montana’s ranchers, brewers, and distillers are maximizing our made-in-Montana grain to benefit our local economies,” Walsh said. “Cutting this proposed regulation was a common-sense step in preserving this partnership for many years, helping to continue the unique partnership between craft breweries, small distillers and ranchers.”

“Montana’s breweries are so successful because of our strong bond with the local producers who supply the highest quality ingredients,” said Max Pigman, owner of Lewis and Clark Brewery in Helena and a member of the Montana Brewers Association. “This decision will strengthen our relationship with farmers and ranchers and help us continue to produce award winning-brews.”

During the process of brewing beer and distilling spirits, the grain nutrients left over as a byproduct of the process serve no purpose for the brewer and distiller and are often sold to ranchers to feed their livestock.

The updated proposal clarifies that the brewing and distilling process that creates the animal food already complies with FDA food safety requirements.

Tester and Walsh are both members of the Senate Small Brewers Caucus. The Senators’ April letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is available below.


2014-04-03 Senators Tester & Walsh Letter to FDA Re Spent Grains by Dan Malessa