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One year and 120 million pints on from the installation of four new, state-of-the-art silos in North Norfolk, and it’s clear the £1.8m investment is delivering on its promises.The venture between Crisp Malt and farming co-operative Fengrain has seen impressive results. These include improvements in environmental impact, expanded production and increased productivity.
The silos, which opened in November 2016, have saved around 20,000 HGV miles and 27,000kg carbon monoxide.
“This is a significant environmental improvement by anybody’s measure,” says Fengrain managing director Rob Munro. “Grain no longer has to be taken to multiple locations for storage, then - at later dates - reloaded in numerous batches and transported to Crisp’s maltings in Gt Ryburgh.
“Now, barley is taken direct to Crisp and stored in the new silos. This means local grain in peak condition is available to the maltsters on site, on demand all year round.”
The silos hold enough barley grain to produce 7,700 tonnes of premium quality malt a year. That quantity of malt has been used by brewers at home and abroad to create 120 million pints of beer.
Britain is the world’s number 4 malt producer – and Crisp is one of the nation’s main producers and exporters. The company exports around 20% of the malt it produces here on its three sites in East Anglia and two in Scotland.
“Our fine malt is sent to brewers and distillers in countries across the globe,” says Adrian Dyter, managing director, Crisp Malt. “We’re proud to play a part in the British food and drink industry’s huge contribution to export. And it’s great to think that people far and wide can be tasting a little bit of East Anglia as they sip their beer or whisky.”
The expansion of craft brewing is stimulating demand for Crisp’s many different malts at home too. The 1,700-plus breweries in the UK, including at least 70 in Norfolk and Suffolk, are between them producing over 10,000 different cask ales a year. The extra capacity provided by the silos is playing a key role in ensuring that the company can meet the needs of the growing craft beer market.
“Our teams work closely with grain merchants like Fengrain, as well as plant scientists and agronomists. The close relationships mean we can support brewers with innovations with raw materials, as well as with processing. For example, our work with scientists, farmers, grain merchants and brewers has led to the resurrection of the ancient barley variety (Chevallier) and creation of a new variety (Clear Choice). It has also supported the salvation of the legendary Maris Otter barley – which is in demand by craft brewers all over the world.”