February 1 2015 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Surging demand for Norfolk malt is helping to put the county on the global map as Far East brewers develop a taste for craft beer.
Great Ryburgh-based Crisp Malting said a growing number of Asian craft brewers were looking to source traditional malts from the UK to create small batches of independent beer.
Such has been the need for the EDP Top100 company’s product that it is now supplying 70pc of the Japanese small brewery market, while exports to America, Italy and Spain have also strengthened.
Last year, about 14pc of its national malt production was exported overseas – the equivalent of 130,000 tonnes – with the majority of its barley going to the distilling indusry.
And while the company expects its £110m turnover to stay the same this year, it is anticipating that last year’s £9.7m pre-tax profit will rise.
The positive forecast follows a move to add six new staff to its 100-strong workforce at its plant near Fakenham to deal with increased production on its pre-crushed malt line.
Euan Macpherson, the company’s group managing director, believes 2014 will be a better year for the brewery trade amid signs of returning confidence and the expectation of a boost in sales from the world cup this summer.
It follows a 5pc decline in beer volumes in the past five years as the industry reeled from vast numbers of pubs closing across the UK, Mr Macpherson said.
“The craft brewing side now counts for three to four per cent of our business – and it is growing rapidly,” he said.
“We have become a big exporter in craft brewing industry in America. Japan is an excellent market for us and elsewhere we have found that Italy and Spain are also looking to brew English style IPA.
“The very nature of the craft brewery industry is that they want their raw materials to be traditional and have real quality – and that is why they come to the UK.”
Crisp Malting owns four malting plants across England and Scotland including sites at Great Ryburgh, near Fakenham; Ditchingham Suffolk; Mistley, Essex; Alloa and Speyside in Scotland. A report by the company last month anticipated that the market prices for barley could rise this year due to a fall in spring planting.
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