Crisp Malt New Bagging Line Alloa Pic By Mike Wilkinson (2)

Crisp Malt new bagging line Alloa - picture by Mike Wilkinson

Crisp Malt is increasing its support of Scottish farmers and Scottish craft brewers with the opening of a new £2m packaging line in Alloa that provides more access to Scottish barley that is grown, malted and packaged in Scotland.

The new fully automated line can bag malt in relatively small quantities, perfect for Crisp’s growing customer base of smaller Scottish craft brewers, as well as larger amounts.

Craft brewers of all sizes across the country will now have greater access to barley that has been grown, malted and bagged in Scotland - rather than buying their malt from England, or using Scottish malt that has been bagged in England and then trucked back to Scotland.

Crisp’s Alloa maltings currently produces 28,000 tonnes of malt for brewers and distillers across Scotland. The new packaging facility has four 60-tonne silos capable of packaging up to 7,000 tonnes a year. It packages whole or crushed malt into 25kg bags, and whole malt in 500kg and one-tonne bags, for a range of customers from small independent craft brewers to large national companies.

Crisp’s investment in infrastructure in Scotland, which comes as the company celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, supports two key issues around sustainability and supply chain identified in the recent Scotland Food & Drink Partnership strategic report on the brewing sector (Brewing Up A Storm, December 2018).

The report set a goal for the Scottish brewing sector to reduce its environmental footprint, and also highlighted a lack of local product in the supply chain.

Despite significant amounts of barley being grown and malted in Scotland, none of the main maltsters have bagged their products in the country. Truckloads of grain have been sent southwards for bagging, only to be returned back over the border, for Scottish brewers. Until now, with the opening of Crisp’s new bagging line.

Crisp’s new facility means that HGV miles will be reduced by up to 35,000 miles a year*. This helps to make significant reductions in carbon footprint as well as supporting breweries with their aims around local sourcing.

As well as supplying the Scottish brewing industry, the new facility will see Crisp expand its export activities to support the growing craft beer movement worldwide, with Scottish malt being distributed around the world to markets such as the US, Japan and Scandinavia.

Hilary Jones, Chair of Scotland Food & Drink’s Brewing Industry Leadership Group, said: “We really welcome this response to one of our recommendations for unblocking barriers to growth for brewers in Scotland. The craft sector, in particular, has been crying out for Scottish-sourced small batches of malt, in bags rather than through bulk delivery. This is great news.”

The new facility furthers Crisp’s local sourcing policy and its commitment to supporting Scottish farming. Around 90% of the barley for its Alloa maltings is sourced from Scottish farms within a 50-mile radius of the site.

John Hutcheson, who grows barley less than 20 miles from the site at Leckerstone Farm, Dunfermline, has been supplying Crisp for five years. He said: “From a farmer’s point of view, we’re pleased to work with a company like Crisp which is committed to developing a lasting relationship and shortening the supply chain.

“It’s good to know that our barley stays in Scotland and through Crisp there is a direct connection with a Scottish brewery. Provenance has become so important for consumers and brands and having this focus on a local supply chain allows provenance to be tracked from the field right through to the beer.

“For farmers, this preserves the identity of the barley and it becomes not just part of the brewing process, but part of the story of the beer itself.”

The resurgent brewing industry in Scotland, which now sees more than 130 breweries spread across the mainland and islands of Scotland, is being driven by strong demand from the craft sector. Crisp’s new facility at Alloa will provide a flexible service for their growing customer base of smaller brewers in particular – for example, allowing them to come and collect smaller orders, something that larger maltsters don’t offer, with appropriate COVID-19 health and safety measures in place.           

Crisp has been supplying malt to Cold Town Beer in Edinburgh since 2018. Ed Evans, the Head Brewer at Cold Town Beer, said: “This is an exciting development because it means we can source Scottish malt locally, cut down on carbon footprint and it also allows us to proudly tell our consumers exactly where the malt in their beer comes from.”

Colin Johnston, Craft Brewing & Distilling Sales Manager at Crisp, said: “I’m exceptionally proud that we are able to support Scottish farmers in this way by maintaining the provenance of their crop right through to a pint produced in a craft brewery in Scotland. Not only this, but by packaging it in Scotland we are cutting a substantial number of road miles and subsequently reducing our carbon impact.”

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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