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31st May 2012

Engaging Government in the ‘Great Maltings of Britain’

MP visits Crisp Maltings to learn the secret

behind the country’s magnificent brewing and distilling industries


Norman Lamb, MP and Under-Secretary of State at BIS (the department for Business, Innovation and Skills) returned from a recent visit to Crisp Maltings enlightened about malt and enthusiastic about the contribution made by the maltings industry to the British economy.

“Malting must be one of Britain’s best kept success secrets,” he said after his trip to the company’s headquarters at Great Ryburgh in the heart of rural Norfolk. His aim was to learn more about the malting industry; to show his support for the food and drink production sector; and to encourage businesses to increase their export activities.

Euan Macpherson, managing director of the Crisp Malting Group and chairman of the Maltsters Association of Great Britain, told him, “This is an industry that shapes over 350,000 hectares of agricultural landscape; gives nearly 450 million pounds worth of business to British farmers; provides malt for over 500 million bottles of whisky and 4.5 billion  pints of beer a year – and yet surprisingly little is known about it. In fact, people are more likely to know that there are hops in beer than to know that malted barley is its main ingredient!”

Before his tour of the maltings, Lamb heard how Crisp Maltings annually sells over £18 million pounds worth of top quality natural British malt to brewers and distillers in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and the US and that the British malting industry as a whole has exports totalling more than £90 million. He and Macpherson discussed the opportunities that might open up in terms of international sales if trade barriers could be broken down.

As the Minister responsible for trade policy, Lamb says, “the UK argues consistently for opening up markets and for reaching free trade agreements between the EU and other countries. This will give new opportunities for companies like Crisp Maltings to increase exports. This is essential as we seek to rebalance the economy and rebuild manufacturing.”

The MP said: “In addition to all the employment it creates (often in rural areas where opportunities are more limited), the contribution of malting – directly through export of malt and indirectly through export of beer and whisky – to the UK balance of trade shouldn’t be underestimated. These are the kind of success stories that need to be encouraged.”

He commended Macpherson’s commitment to raise the profile of malt and to lift it from its relative obscurity. “Malted barley is a natural, wholesome ingredient that’s an absolutely vital part of the nation’s great brewing and distilling industries and various malted grains are an increasingly important wholesome and nutritious ingredient used in the food and baking industries. Malt deserves to be conspicuous and feted – alongside the range of fantastic ales, stouts, lagers and whiskies it produces.”

“We hugely appreciated Norman’s visit,” said Macpherson. “It gave us an opportunity to talk up malt and the malting industry at the same time as showing what Crisp Maltings contributes to the economy. It was no surprise that, like the Minister of Agriculture, Jim Paice, Norman was particularly interested in our export trade. After all, every pound made through international sales helps in some small way to offset the country’s significant trade deficit.”

MP Keith Simpson will also be visiting Great Ryburgh’s Crisp Maltings in the near future.  Said Macpherson, “It’s great that MPs get behind the scenes to see how our industries work, rather than rely on briefing packs, which, however good, are no substitute for being on site and watching the processes at work.”


Further information:                           Frances Brace

07432 692309