Cows bid brewery fond farewell

No more spent grain from historic Blitz-Weinhard plant

Aug 1, 1999 - The Portland Oregonian points out that milk drinkers as well as beer drinkers may feel the effects of the historic Blitz-Weinhard Brewery closing.


For more than 50 years, the Holsteins on Floyd Van Domelen's farm outside of Portland have been fed spent barley, a byproduct of beer production at the 143-year-old brewery. The brewery has made its last batch of beer and shipped its last soggy malt to the farm.

Stroh Brewery, which owns the brewery, recently sold out to Pabst and Miller Brewing Co. in a three-way deal. Weinhard production is being moved to Miller plant, affecting many more than those employed at the Portland brewery.

Northwest Brewers Grain, which delivers the barley malt and has six employees, lost all its business with the closure. Other contracted groups -- including bottlers, marketers and railroad workers who deliver the sugar and hops -- will be affected.

"It's much more than the beer for a lot of people," said Ross Robb, a sales consultant for Northwest Brewers Grain.

Van Domelen's 150 cows will be switched to a dry-grain diet. The Blitz-Weinhard Brewery used enough barley malt to fill an 11-ton dump truck every two hours, Robb said. A full load feeds about 150 cows for a week and costs about $350.

Van Domelen said milk drinkers they won't taste any difference. The milk is blended with that from several other farms and mass-marketed. However, dairy farmers who sell their product directly say barley makes a big difference. "If we run out of barley malt and don't feed it for a couple days, our customers complain," said Jim Mensonides, dairy manager with Faith Dairy Farms in Roy, Wash.

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