East of England farming co-operative Fengrain has joined forces with Crisp Malting Group to create a state-of-the-art new malting barley storage facility in Norfolk.
Fengrain’s four new silos at Crisp’s Great Ryburgh site will provide storage for 10,000 tonnes of malting barley. The master maltsters at Crisp will use this to produce 7,700 tonnes of premium quality malt. This in turn can be used by brewers to create 120 million pints of beer.
Rob Munro, Fengrain managing director, says: “The opening of this great new storage facility reflects the fact our co-operative is growing.
“We already have 900 members and this significant investment by Fengrain opens up opportunities for even more growers in the East Anglia region. They, too, will be able to benefit from our unique marketing proposition and excellent relationship with Crisp – and other customers.
“The new silos enable direct delivery at harvest time from the farm to the customer. This avoids time-wasting, resource-intensive double handling. It means that the barley can be dried and stored in perfect conditions from the outset. All this helps attract best available premiums for members.”
“The silos will bring benefits in terms of quality controls and convenience,” says Bob King, commercial director, Crisp Malting Group. “Their installation on our site will also reduce haulage – saving around 20,000 HGV miles and 27,000kg of carbon dioxide emissions a year.”
The boom in craft brewing is driving demand for premium malt – malt is barley that has gone through the three-step process of steeping, germinating and kilning. Malts range in colour and character from extra pale to crystal to black, according to the length of time and temperature of the kilning.
“To produce the best malt we must have top quality malting barley all year round,” says Bob King. “Excellent storage conditions are absolutely crucial – and this joint venture will provide them.
“We’ve been working with Fengrain and its members over many years. Positioning their silos on our site shows the commitment from both parties to a long-term partnership.
“The deal secures high quality, local raw materials for us. It increases our capacity so we can meet the growing demand for our malt from craft brewers across the country – and abroad. Britain is the world’s number three malt producer – and we are one of the country’s main exporters. Our famed malt is sent to brewers and distillers across the world, so people everywhere are tasting a little bit of East Anglia as they sip their beer or whisky.”
Previously, barley was being transported to and stored at Fengrain’s headquarters at Wimblington – or being stored on farms then transported to Fengrain for onward movement to Crisp.
Phil Garnham, malting barley specialist for Fengrain, says: “Our members put a huge amount of effort into growing top-quality products, so it’s important that the storage conditions are perfect to do them justice and ensure their value is maximised.
“The new facilities – with space available to own or rent – will relieve the practical pressures of storing barley on farm and avoid the challenges of maintaining its quality as the marketing year progresses. They allow our members to focus on what they do best, namely growing. They’ll feel more confident working with long-term agreements, secure in the knowledge of where their grain is going. And they will have options on some very advantageous contracts.
“Overall this deal is good for everyone in the supply chain – and for the environment.”
Guests were invited for a tour of new facilities on Friday 11 November. Following the tour, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to mark the occasion which was performed by the managing directors of Fengrain and Crisp – Rob Munro and Adrian Dyter respectively.