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30th March 2012

Great Maltings of Britain as Epicentres of the Beer and Pub industry – Maltster makes case for Malt to Food and Agriculture Minister

It may be that some industries don’t get much of a look-in when it comes to public profile, but that doesn’t stop them from being a crucial part of the supply chain and a massive contributor to the economy – as James Paice, Minister for Food and Agriculture and Euan Macpherson, MD of Crisp Maltings, agree.

At a meeting in Westminster, the Minister and Euan, who chairs the Maltsters Association of Great Britain, discussed the fact that there is a high level of ignorance about malt and that  few people – even within the pub and beer industry – are able to define what it actually is.

“Given that malted barley is  the main ingredient for beer and whisky, our national drinks, and is therefore absolutely crucial to the pub trade, it’s strange that people give it so little thought, “ said Euan. “Britain is the third largest producer of malt, supplying the world’s biggest brewers as well as the 800 micro, regional and national brewers across our own country. The Grain to Glass campaign was a start in terms of improving the low levels of knowledge, but there’s still a job to be done in increasing the appreciation of malt as a natural wholesome ingredient and as a contributor to the economy. ”

The aim of Euan’s visit to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), was to highlight the importance of the industry to farmers, distillers, brewers, the pub industry and, by implication, to the wider economy.

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice is supportive of the need to spread the word about malt and the great maltings of Britain, not only domestically, but abroad as well.  He said, “British beer and whisky is already known the world over for its exceptional quality, but many people don’t know that we’re also one of the world’s largest exporters of their most important ingredient – malt.

“With rising global demand for food and drink, Britain’s producers have got huge opportunities for growth and I applaud the malting industry’s positive impact on our economy, both on a local and national level.”

Crisp Maltings produces over 250,000 tonnes of premium quality malt which, as the Minister agreed, is extremely important to national as well as to local and regional economies.

“In addition to all the direct employment created by the maltings industry, often in rural areas, we enable a further 70,000 jobs in brewing and 10,000 jobs in distilling, let alone all those in pubs that rely on the sales of beer and whisky. In other words, it is no exaggeration to say that the maltings industry underpins billions of pounds worth of economic activity.

““It’s encouraging that the Minister sees the great maltings of Britain as part of a much bigger food drink and hospitality picture; that he is focussed on the direct and indirect employment they provide, particularly in rural areas; and that he is keen to support our domestic activity – and our export efforts through the DTI and other avenues.

Further info: Frances Brace    07432 692 309