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Norsk Håndverksmalt – Update (02.16)

With the project now in it last months for the cooperative and network development phase, we are now moving towards the development of our first malt houses in Norway. The last 2 months have seen a great deal of work with the team, concentrating efforts on the design and production aspects of these malt houses. Each region will have its own functional malt house and because of the varying local conditions each of the small plants will be different in capacity and design.

The cooperative business structure, operating model and legal framework has now also been finalised. We have had our first formal meeting with our founding members, barley growers, advisors and have also now established an interim board that has voted in the cooperatives CEO. All paperwork will be processed in the coming week.

With our colleagues, and their community at Ny Nordisk Øl in Denmark also considering the expansion of craft malt production in their region, we are looking forward to working closely with this group during 2016, helping them evaluate the potential of this change in industrial production.

We also have a small update for you with the first results coming back from IFBM (The French Institute for Brewing and Malting) for the field trials we ran in 2015 and we will also be sharing the results of our survey from the Norwegian brewing industries use of malt products.

Many interesting topics to be discussed this month, but we will start with our development plans and production layout for a 50-ton per month malt facility.

Production plans and layouts

Working with a Bergen based, Norwegian architect (Øyvind Tveit) who has a particular interest in craft malt houses and their place in a rural and industrial settings, aided us in planning two separate Norwegian based malt houses.

The concept of the designs is simple. The malting equipment need to be able to be retro-fitted to traditional barns or modern barns built in the past for livestock or poultry.

The systems are designed to run 5-ton batches and we expect that the standard production cycles will be 5 batches per month for each of the 5-ton Germination and Kilning Vessels (GKV). The design batch cycle is based upon 144 hours (120 germination hours and 24 kilning hours).

The system will start with 1-steep tank and 2-GKV´s, but will be easily expanded based on production demand and supply.

With many open barns for livestock now being left vacant in many parts of the Norwegian districts, the opportunity for these buildings to be repurposed for new income potentials is great. Simplicity in the design, but ensuring high standards in Health and Safety issues will be important. All of the Cooperative malt houses, should be “open houses”, where visitors can be hosted and brewers encouraged to involve themselves in the process.

Open barn - Single floor design
Open barn – Single floor design

Many older and more traditional styled barns are also left standing in many districts. These barns have great value, not only to the heritage of these regions, but also for the farm landscapes themselves.

Older buildings will need to have many considerations taken in mind. The moisture developed in malting can be of considerable concern to the wood structures. Waterproofing and paneling will need to be considered for appropriate mitigation methods.

Traditional Barn - Multiple level design
Traditional Barn – Multiple level design

We are also working closely with Felleskjøpet and Tornum in Sweden looking at appropriate solutions for grain storage. The ability for us to separate our grains based on the fields and farms will allow us a greater level of trace-ability in the malt produced. Additionally, we know that the grains coming from the fields will be high in moisture in the first years, so adequate drying systems and cleaning, sorting systems will be of high value.

Tornum storage

Field trials – 2015

The majority of samples showed good results in the 1000 kernels weight test, equally in protein levels and germination capacity. This combination shows a good potential for making high quality malt.

The risk of fungal infection in local conditions is very high. For this reason, it is very important to pay attention to:

quality of seed material (not infected, high germination energy);

varieties (resistant to infections, low plants, short vegetation period, high quality for malting);

fungicide treatment.

*All data will be released in our field trial report – 2015, later this year

Malt system – update

After a year of research on the craft malt systems available to the global markets, we feel that the systems produced by the larger engineering/brewing firms are the most durable and reliable for production of craft malts. However, the costs of these systems are a factor that makes them nonviable for small scale craft operations.

Alternative solutions from independent entrepreneurs seem like the next best choice, but we are concerned that these systems have inherent built in issues, that can effect the consistency in production and quality of the product. So again, although these systems are unique and innovative in design, we are always concerned about reliability and maintenance issues.

We have settled with 2 design firms that both offer systems that would be suitable for the needs of our malt initiative. We expect to have the final plans and system specifications ready by early March 2016 and will promote this/these system(s) through this blog all the way through production, delivery, installation and final commissioning.

An important aspect of these systems has been the functionality, range in recipes, energy efficiency, maintenance and serviceability and finally, quality and reliability in production of the malts.

Brewers survey – February 2016

Understanding the market demand and interests of the brewing industry is paramount for us and our future. The current industry imports all of its raw ingredients (albeit a small group of enthusiasts) and this has lead to a calling for the development of the local malting and hops markets.

Over the course of the month we sent an online survey to 95 breweries, with 54 responses. The survey listed questions in relation to the use of local malts and and the brewers interest and then more specific questions on the malt used currently in their operations.

We feel the responses have been realistic and useful and we clearly understand that there is a great demand for locally produced malts, with a high quality and competitive price.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 17.21.26

Founders meeting, steering group and interim board

Over the last 16 months we have been developing a community of advisors, farmers, malt specialists and finance partners to help develop the craft malt industry in the Nordics. With this community we have outlined a business model that we feel can adequately represent the interests of craft maltsters in this region.

We are satisfied with our connected group and have formalised the relations made through the founding of the Cooperative through our first members meeting and interim board nomination.

Our interim board is made up of 3 members and through this board we have nominated the cooperative Daglig Leder/CEO.

Final notes

This years spring seems to be arriving faster then usual and with this, our planning for field trials in 2016 means we will hopefully have a list of the varieties we will test out earlier than last year. Through the growers guide and forum we will keep you updated.

If you would like to link to this project and help in anyway we warmly welcome your advice, knowledge and future inputs. Please find us at www.handverksmalt.no

Until next month!