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brewery mash business case  RSS feed

 
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Hello, I am interested in getting input from those people who have not only fed mash, but those who truck it themselves.

I fetched mash for 5 years. Started out once per week, at the end it was almost daily as the brewery grew. I have a lot of pigs in the forest. Fed a little to cattle and chickens, but mostly pigs, mixed with corn for the sugar.  I found a dairy farmer to take over, he did it for two years and gave up.

firstly, locally, the understanding from the breweries point of view is that farmers will pick it up for free. Frankly it is work. Once a week is a hobby, but daily, is just plain work. Time off the farm costs.

The feed, from all my research in Morrisons's Feed and Feeding, is of poor quality. I like to work from the price of barley. Barley, locally, is about $3 to 6 per bushel, or about $300 per ton. Dry, full nutrient barley is cheap. Sugar removed and wet barley is, to my best guess, worth about a 1/4 of that. I know, I could do all sorts of soldier fly breeding and improve it for the chickens, but I am not going to.  

Anyone who has actually done it for any length of time, probably does not know their cost of production in fetching and feeding it. A common problem with farmers, me included.

The breweries are begging me to take it for free because they know I am reliable and will do it all winter, in all weather, oh ya, and don't take vacations.

With this in mind, I want to charge for fetching/taking it. I am interested in what others charge.

PS, there is also the burgeoning problem of the wort. Many sewer departments in the cities are forbidding the breweries from pouring it down the drain. They are paying about a dollar a gallon to have it hauled away. I have taken it on occasion, it is of no feed value and thus have charged what the big disposal companies charge. I just dump it on my pasture, if not too much, the grass likes it, if too much, it kills it.

Would love your input, but remind you, would rather hear from those who have actually done it for an extended period of time.

thanks so much in advance, george
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I would charge at the same $1/gallon.

How much time does the process take for you?
Cost = (Equipment/UHaul Cost + Employee Cost ) X Overhead
Cost = ($1/mile * miles + $30/hr * hours ) * 1.5
Cost = ($1*30 + $30*2) * 1.5
Cost = (30 + 60) * 1.5
Cost = 61*1.5
Cost = $92
 
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I work in town and would be willing to grab it on lunches without any extra driving around, since they're all downtown. The interesting thing is that not a one of them would give it to me.
 
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Location: Pee Gee, Bee Cee, Cee Aye En Aye Dee Aye
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elle sagenev wrote:I work in town and would be willing to grab it on lunches without any extra driving around, since they're all downtown. The interesting thing is that not a one of them would give it to me.



I've found a few times that businesses don't want the hassle of dealing with just a person, they want to deal with another business even if it costs them more in the end.

So many places in the waste stream one could pull real value out if one can deal with bureaucracy to get the process rolling.
 
S Bengi
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In my city they can't even give out coffee grounds. They can only give it to someone registered/insured as a solid waste company.
They also cant give away perfectly good donuts/pastry/bread either to homeless, they can only give it to other company/non-profit.
 
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This is a great perspective on what is most likely going to end up a huge problem for the microbrewers that are popping up all over the US.
Thanks for starting this thread George.

Redhawk
 
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It sounds like a lot of work for a nutritionally inferior feed source.

The last time I came across a windfall of spent brewers grain, I was without animals to eat it, so I composted it.

Honestly, the only livestock I would ever feed that stuff to is worms. I did mix it in with my coffee grounds and a fair amount of spent rabbit bedding, but man, I came back a month later, and there was no hint of grain, coffee grounds, or rabbit bedding, and more worms by volume, it seemed, than soil.

With this in mind, I don't think I would bother unless I was upgrading it with Black Soldier Fly Larvae or other insects.

I don't think what you're considering is out of line, as S Bengi has sketched out. But if dealing with you is no different than dealing with a disposal company, financially speaking, they might just choose to dump it, so you can't very well charge on the same scale as waste management.

I suggest you literally cost it out, with gas receipts and everything. And account for your time properly as well. It would be best financially if you had a large-scale upgrading process, even if it was just spent grain in windrows mixed with other worm food that would then draw worms, that you could feed to chickens and pigs, because chances are, the spent grain really isn't worth it if you're trucking it yourself.

-CK
 
Posts: 634
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I'd be inclined to work out the cost of hauling it away (like the cost of gas for a round trip pickup) and charge that amount.

Wort contains a lot of fats and proteins that don't easily break down. I can see that being a big problem. However, I have an idea...

The breweries separate this stuff out because it produces undesirable flavors in the finished beer, and interferes with stability of the final product (haze etc). Yeast will actually ferment this stuff out just fine, and it contains a lot of nutrients and sugars. There is a possibility here to take this stuff away at half the cost the city charges, ferment it out, and then distill the ethanol for use as a bio fuel.
 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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I'm a little confused about the terminology.  I've home brewed for years and, as I understand it, wort is the liquid that you draw off the mash and boil with hops.  Wort is the liquid with the extracted sugars that you add yeast to to make beer.  I don't understand why any brewery would dump the wort, so what am I missing?

The spent mash, now, is an issue.  Around here, some micros used to get it trucked away wet while others dried it and then charged for it, though not much.  Depending on mash efficiency you'll get anywhere between 15-25% sugars still in the malt, as well as any starches that didn't convert to sugar during the mashing process, so I think it's still a useful feed source.  I like it better than grain for cows as they aren't built for high sugar/starch loads that grain contains, so it can be a useful bribe at milking.  

As for cost/pricing, my inclination would be to tell them you'll take it all, but they have to arrange transportation.  That way, they have all the headaches and you aren't off the farm.  Also, if you quote them a price that's your cost, you'll soon find yourself underwater when shipping costs rise, so if going that route, I'd factor in gas, time, wear and tear, and then add 20% for increasing costs.  They may not like that quote, which is why I'd say have them deliver it.  One other thing to note, though you probably already know this, is that spent mash is just about perfect for bacteria growth, so you'll very quickly have something that challenges a confinement hog operation for smell.  

Walter at Sugar Mountain gets whey, the waste product from cheesemaking, trucked to his farm on the cheesery's dime.  Whey's acidic, so it's not accepted in waste streams here without treating, and you have to be careful of spreading too much on pastures (so I've been told), but it makes a great supplement.  If he's got the time, you might get an answer from a PM to him or check out his blog to see what details he gives.  I think finding out the challenges and opportunities of waste feed from someone like Walter, who's doing it, would be most helpful.
 
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