Murkowski Efforts Brush Back New Brewer Regulations

Senator’s Outreach to the FDA Creates Reversal of Costly Proposal

Senator Lisa Murkowski welcomed news from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it is reconsidering an expensive proposed regulation that would have compelled Alaska’s small brewers to take on unnecessary expense when transferring or donating so-called spent grains to farms for animal feed.  (Spent grains are the by-product of the brewing process.)  Co-chairs of the United States Senate Brewers Caucus, Murkowski and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) urged the FDA Commissioner in a letter (attached) to rethink the new proposal to make brewers dry and treat their grains before handing the feed over, which would have resulted in dramatically higher operation costs and beer prices.  As Murkowski wrote in that April letter:

The ramifications of the proposed rule, if adopted, would be devastating to the symbiotic relationship between brewers and farmers in Alaska.  This relationship mitigates the cost of supplemental animal feed for farmers and reduces, and in most cases eliminates, grain disposal costs and reduces landfill waste.

Following her intervention, the FDA reversed course on the proposed rule and decided against that rule and will soon open a 75-day comment period for brewers, farmers and other stakeholders to share their thoughts about the alternative, which includes ensuring that their grains do not come into contact with substances or equipment that would call its safety into question.

“The FDA’s proposal was an overreaction, a solution in search of a problem,” said Murkowski.  “Alaska’s breweries are a small-business success story for our state, and the proposed rule would have added needless, costly new regulations.  I appreciate the FDA’s willingness to work with small brewers to strike a better balance.”