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28th June 2018

Craft brewers check out £6.7m of support to their sector

Brewers looking around new facilities at Crisp

Seventy brewers from across Britain gathered together in the depths of the North Norfolk countryside to check out a £6.7m investment in the craft sector.

They were at Crisp Maltings’ open day, showcasing the company’s brand-new bagging line and innovative speciality malt plant.

The speciality plant is the first of its kind to be built on a commercial scale in the UK. Originally developed for processing seeds and nuts for the food industry, the installation has been developed for the even and consistent roasting of cereals. The operation uses vibration to mix and transport the grains as they pass through phased conditioning and heating zones. It also has the facility for water injection – vital for the stewing-stages of some speciality malts.

“It will be used for processing both malted and un-malted grains,” explained Crisp director Rob Moody, “including wheat, rye and oats as well as the more usual barley.”

He says the exciting thing is the precision it offers. The roasting and colouring of each individual grain will be extremely even, and the exactness of control means there will be true consistency across batches. The design offers great potential for new product development.

“We’ll be able to create speciality malts with more nuances of colour, flavour and texture than ever. Brewers seem just as excited as we are about the possibilities it opens up.”

The new bagging line supports Crisp in packaging the ever-growing number and varieties of malt – both in whole and crushed grain versions. Its capacity of 800 bags per hour anticipates continued development of the craft sector – and demand for a wide variety of quality malts.

The brewers’ itinerary also included a visit to the nearby barley fields – famous for producing some of the best malting barley in the world. Here brewers talked to local seed merchants H Banham, who jointly with Robin Appel, rescued the Maris Otter barley variety. They also heard from one of the select farmers who produces trial crops for Crisp.

“There was a huge amount of interest in the trip to the fields, particularly from urban brewers, who have less opportunity to observe cereal farming close at hand. There were some really great questions about the technicalities of growing specialist malting varieties – as well as more general ones about the current barley crop.

“Taking a turn at raking the Maris Otter in the floor maltings proved popular. As did the beer (or three) in Norwich, ‘City of Ale’ that concluded the proceedings!”

Representatives from breweries as varied as Tiny Rebel, Hop Back, Liverpool Craft Beer Company, Bateman’s, Woodforde’s, Humpty Dumpty, Marble Brewery and Pennine Brewing attended.

Further info: 07432 692309