Fitger's Brewhouse Beefs up Menu with "In-the-Family" Highland Cattle

By KBJR News 1

November 29, 2012 Updated Nov 30, 2012 at 11:01 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNC NOW) - They're hairy, hearty, and according to officials with Fitger's Brewhouse, in Duluth, these Minnesota–raised Scottish Highland cattle are about to be the latest item on the menu.

"They're not a genetically modified animal; they've been around for a long time. They're very hearty—they can survive a Minnesota winter,"
Fitger's Brewhouse Minister of Culture and Propaganda, Brad Nelson.

According to Nelson, these half–dozen long–horned cattle are being raised on a restaurant–owned ranch just outside of Saginaw.

As docile as they seem, don't be fooled. They come equipped with a natural defense mechanism, which—when coupled with the shaggy hairdo—make them a perfect Northland breed.

"If a predator, like a wolf, comes around, they can actually form a circle with their horns, and they can protect themselves. So, they're very hearty, very strong—a very intelligent breed," said Nelson.

The reasoning behind the decision to raise beef was two–fold, say officials.

From a consumer's standpoint, Fitger's Brewhouse officials say they've always aimed to accommodate locally–grown, organic options.

"We really try to gear our menus toward the elk burgers [that] we serve—which are Minnesota–grown elk—and also, the whitefish burger, which is a new burger on our menu, and it's actually made with whitefish fresh from Lake Superior. It's made locally, people like it—the sales numbers agree with that," said Brewhouse Manager Matt Brown.

But the driving reason behind the decision, says Nelson, goes back to the brewery itself, and the 3—5,000 pounds of nutrient–rich, protein–heavy spent grain that is a weekly byproduct of the everyday brewing process.

To put simply, their waste becomes their food.

"Cattle love it—it's good for them," exclaimed Nelson.

Nelson hopes Fitger's paves the road for more Northland restaurants to follow this locally–grown trend.

Nelson says Fitger's Brewhouse hopes to replace up to 10 percent of their menu with the Scottish Highland beef over the next year.