Invited Review: Rise of craft distilleries in the southeastern United States increases bourbon-distillery feedstuffs as supplement for beef cattle



      As bourbon production in the United States has dramatically increased in the last decade, the availability of spent grain feedstuffs has grown. This review shares information on the various feed products generated from the production of bourbon and spirits, nutrient composition, and general feeding considerations.


      The main sources of information included were current industry publications and peer-reviewed literature. Databases searched included Web of Science, PubMed, and Google Scholar. Feed analyses collected from bourbon distillery–derived feedstuffs by the authors are included as well as research data generated by the authors.


      Bourbon distillery–derived feedstuffs are similar in nutritional composition to fuel ethanol sources. However, the variety in grains used and variations in mash bills can result in greater variability compared with products from corn-based ethanol plants. Small craft distilleries are not financially able to invest in dewatering technology, giving rise to a large volume of whole stillage available to livestock operations. There are challenges associated with this large growth in the production of bourbon and spirits and using the increased volume of spent grain feedstuffs available.

      Conclusions and Applications

      Bourbon distillery feedstuffs can be a locally available source of supplemental energy and protein for beef cattle. Becoming more familiar with the various feedstuffs and their nutrient profiles, including awareness of and ability to respond to a high degree of variation, will allow for the best results when using these feedstuffs in the diets of ruminants. Livestock managers should develop balanced rations to avoid detrimental effects from feeding these feedstuffs.

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