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State Ag Officials Pushing for Millet Beer and Overseas Exports

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Colorado agriculture officials are turning to brewers and Europe to see if they can help boost sales of millet.

Millet is a naturally gluten-free grain that is most widely seen in the U.S. as an ingredient in bird seed.  But, in recent years that’s been changing and millet’s popularity as a human food source is growing.  Last year, Colorado produced about 61% of all millet in the U.S.  Now, agriculture officials are trying to grow the millet market overseas as well. 

“We’re finding that even though Europe is buying Colorado and U.S. millet, our records show that the Unites States is only supplying between 10% and 17% of the millet that major importers purchase,” says Tim Larsen, senior international marketing specialist for the state department of agriculture. 

Larsen is currently in London, England trying to boost exports of the crop.  Officials have also asked Colorado malting company in Alamosa to malt the grain for beer companies to try as a substitute for barley or wheat.

“We learned from some European visitors that the top selling gluten-free beer in Germany is, in fact, made from 100% malted millet,” says Larsen. 

Colorado Malting Company is currently preparing about 6,000 pounds of Colorado-grown millet for commercial brewers, with several signed up to experiment with it.  The state agriculture department is currently using a $42,000 dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to market the state’s millet industry. 

As part of that, state agriculture officials are working with Colorado State University to develop recipes for millet, several of which can be found here: