Raise Your Glass!

We love Fourth of July because we get to toast to America’s freedom—with a nice, cold beer. Beer is important to us because our corn grits are used in the production process for a number of national beer brands.

What are corn grits?

Corn grits are made in the heart of the dry-milling process at Didion. During the milling process, the endosperm is separated from the bran and germ by gently grinding the corn.. Once the vitreous endosperm (the coarser endosperm) is separated, it is roller milled and sifted to the correct size range for brewers grits.

What do corn grits do in beer?

Beer is mostly made up of three main ingredients: water, barley malt, and hops. During the typical beer making process, yeast is added to the mix, which eventually helps convert the barley malt into alcohol. However, some bigger breweries like to use corn grits as an adjunct to the barley malt. You can think of an adjunct as an assistant. This means that the company can use less malt with the help of the corn grits, which will still be converted into alcohol. If a company chooses to use corn grits along with malt, they usually use a ratio of about 70% malt to 30% grits.

Why choose corn grits?

You still may be wondering, why not use all malt instead of adding some corn grits? The reason that larger breweries do this is because the grits allow them to produce a lighter beer than if all standard malt was used. Brewers grits have very little enzymatic activity, so adding them can dilute the enzymes that come with malt and produce the lighter, pilsner-type beer that Americans love!

So this weekend when you’re enjoying the fireworks and a cold brew, you might be drinking something that was produced with Didion corn grits!

By: Jeff Dillon, VP of Sales & Marketing at Didion Milling


Milling 101: Good Manufacturing Practices

Safety is a core value at Didion and we are committed to producing quality, safe products for our customers. An effective food safety system is a top priority, but how do we create a good basis for it? We do this by having certain rules and expectations in place that employees and visitors must follow whenever they are in our facility. These guidelines are known as Good Manufacturing Practices or GMP’s.

GMP’s are practices defined by the FDA that set guidelines for different manufacturing workplaces. For food manufacturers like Didion, these guidelines provide minimum requirements we must meet to ensure our products are safe and of high quality. These guidelines don’t necessarily tell a company how to manufacture, but rather list factors that need to be monitored during production.

Even though GMP’s are regulated by the FDA, they were established to be flexible so that each manufacturer can decide individually how to implement the best practices for them. This means that Didion can add to the list of already established GMP’s. In fact – the Didion list of GMPs includes 18 guidelines! Many of these rules regard aspects such as: proper attire, hair/facial hair restraint, food/drink consumption, sanitary issues etc.

GMP’s are a very important part of Didion’s safety culture because they are an integral part of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) prerequisite program, which is necessary to build a complete food safety program. Having a good basis by practicing GMP’s allows Didion to become certified to the internationally recognized food safety standard of FSSC 22000, one more step in the food safety management program.

One of the reasons Didion has been able to achieve such high food safety ratings is because we have a knowledgeable food safety leader and team established to help enforce these guidelines. This team is cross-functional and monitors everything from corn procurement to shipping! Along with Didion employees following these guidelines, we also make sure that we check visitors at the mill and have them read and sign off on GMP’s.

Ultimately, it is Didion’s responsibility to practice good food safety so that we produce the safest and highest quality products for our customers. Having effective GMP’s in place helps us accomplish this important task!

By: John Deininger, Quality Assurance Manager at Didion Milling