Budweiser Celebrates Barley Growers in Midwest Region
A day full of festivities highlights Anheuser-Busch's appreciation for Minnesota and North Dakota growers
It’s the “King of Beers.”
But Budweiser wouldn’t have that title if not for all the North Dakota and Minnesota barley growers that make its beer possible.
So, they created Grower Days 2017.
“This is my first time being at one of these and we haven’t seen everything yet but there’s crop tours we’re going to be going on so we’ll see what some of the new varieties might be,” grower Mike Mongeon said.
Growers from all over the region met at the Anheuser–Busch malt plant in Moorhead to celebrate what they do every day.
The Budweiser plant has been in Moorhead for 39 years and has over 14 million visitors each year.
But not many people know why it was built there.
“9,000 years ago, you would’ve been looking out here at spruce trees and woolly mammoths walking all over the darn place,” said Budweiser manager of Midwest barley operations Alan Slater.
It’s thanks to the melting glaciers that the Budweiser malt plant has its location.
“It left all the rich clay and on top of that, probably some of the richest, nicest soil in the world,” Slater said.
Now the plant has an abundance of barley.
Eight million bushels of barley are produced here each year, but just 9,000 can produce up to a few million bottles of beer.
“In this bed is where we get to play a farmer, play mother nature and get the grain to grow,” said master malster Craig Mohr said.
Barley goes through 16 steps, from picking it in the field to getting it on the loading truck, before it finally gets sent to one of Budweiser’s 12 breweries.
Mongeon has been in the business for 35 years, and says it takes a certain kind of person to do the job.
“Farming is a great way of life. A little trying at many times but no. It’s in your blood. It’s what you all of a sudden know you gotta do,” Mongeon said.
He’s even influenced someone else in the family to get into growing.
“My son is here with me. When I’m watching him grow up and following me around, riding in the tractor with me, you know, I could tell he had the same drive to want to do it as I did,” Mongeon said.