Revitalizing a regional grain economy for craft brewing and distilling in the Pacific Northwest

Authors: Laura Lewis*, Washington State University, Aba Kiser, Washington State University
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Regional Geography
Keywords: Specialty Grains, Value-Added, Craft Brewing & Distilling
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: 8226, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the most prolific small grains production systems worldwide. However, most of the grain produced in WA, OR, and ID is exported or aggregated for large-scale commodity markets outside of craft brewing and distilling (and other value-add opportunities such as baking, livestock feed, and seed systems). There is a disconnect between regional and localized production of grain and production of craft beer and distilled spirits that contain grain. Both grain producers and craft processors are eager to grow and utilized cereals for value-added markets with higher profit margins and place-based economic development. To address the disconnect between the large-scale agricultural production systems and the smaller scale craft grain industry, WSU developed the Cascadia Grains Conference (CGC). Now in it's seventh year, the CGC has grown from an annual conference in Western Washington serving grain growers in the maritime NW, to a yearlong movement with several opportunities for education, outreach, and networking for stakeholders. Throughout this period, we have documented outcomes and impacts from CGC through participant evaluations and case studies. This presentation will highlight the opportunities for community and economic development to support value-added regional grain markets, with particular focus on craft brewing and distilling.

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