The whiskey maker keeping cows happy on the road to net zero

The cows at Pentre Aber Farm are being fed on a diet of malted barley left over from making whiskey. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Cows on a Welsh farm are being fed on a diet of malted barley left over from making whiskey in an effort to help the environment.

The Aber Falls Distillery in Abergwyngregyn is just 500 yards away from Pentre Aber Farm, which is playing a key role in reducing emissions from the site.

Farmer Will Davies' 400 cattle tuck into four tons of the barley every day, left over from the whiskey stills at the distillery.

The cows are fed on left over malted barley from the whiskey stills Credit: Mandy Jones Photography

The arrangement is part of the distillery's wider efforts to become more eco-friendly, with the water used to make the whiskey being pumped from a borehole and the visitor centre café using an array of solar panels.

"It’s a win-win for both of us. We get rid of a waste product that we’d otherwise have to pay to have taken away and the farmer gets free feed for his cows," Head Distiller Sam Forster said of the arrangement.

He added: “Almost all our barley comes from Pembrokeshire but if any farmers closer to home would like to grow a crop we’d be happy to hear from them.”

Sam Forster from Aber Falls Distillery Credit: ITV Wales

Farmer Edward Davies said with the feed coming from just down the road, the food miles are short.

The trailer comes to the distillery once a day to pick up a the feed for the cows.

But does it contain any alcohol?

"A lot of people think it tastes like whiskey and it makes the cows drunk but it doesn't," he said.

He joked: "I don't think you get the taste of whiskey through the milk," adding "I think we'd soon hear from the South Caernarfon Creamery if we did."

Farmer Edward Davies picks up the feed from the distillery once a day Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

The efforts have been praised by Ashley Rogers, chief executive of the North Wales Business Council, which runs the Net Zero North Wales Network.

"What Aber Falls and Pentre Aber Farm are doing here, using the resources we have within our own businesses and working with local partners to make the best use of them, is an amazing example of the circular economy in action," he said.

Mr Rogers added: "This working together and sharing ideas is at the heart of how North Wales will get to Net Zero.

"Aber Falls is a real trailblazer, not just in terms of making wonderful Welsh whiskey but also in the innovative ways they are using to operate in such an environmentally friendly way.

"You can’t get much greener than feeding the malted barley to cows just 500 yards away."

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