Historical Picture of Crisp Malt Factory 1904Maltster’s Rooted in Norfolk

We were founded when two brothers, Fred & George Smith, purchased a farm and flour mill at Little Ryburgh in Norfolk in 1850. With the arrival of the railway through Norfolk and with access to excellent malting barley, they decided to enter into malting in 1870 and established the Great Ryburgh maltings. In time it was the largest floor maltings in the world and they sent malt all over the world from their quayside on the Norfolk coast at Well-Next-The-Sea.

In 1970, John Crisp, an 8th generation maltster whose family had been involved in the industry since the 18th century, bought into the company and the name changed to what we know today. John Crisp continued to grow the business through strong contracts with UK and overseas brewers and expanded into Scotland in 1979 when they built our Portgordon maltings in Speyside. John’s son William established a brewing wholesale company in the USA to cater to the burgeoning craft scene in the early 90s. This eventually became BSG and was purchased by Rahr Malt. BSG are still our US distributor to this day.

In 2005, the company was bought by a small group of investors led by our Chief Executive David Thompson of the Wolverhampton & Dudley brewing family; they expanded the group further with the addition of malting sites in Germany and Poland, making Crisp Malt the 10th largest malting company in the world. We also have sister businesses in the wider group, including MFP and EDME, who make ingredients for the baking industry.

Then in 2023, Richardson International Limited successfully acquired Crisp Malt, welcoming all our employees into its wider group of companies across Canada, the US, and Europe. Given the growing global demand for malting barley, predominantly driven by the brewing and distilling industries, Richardson’s proven track record of strategic expansion and investment positions Crisp Malt to meet increasing requirements for our international customer base.

In partnership with farmers

Glass of wheat beer in barley field

In 2005 we pioneered a new rolling contract arrangement with our local farmers and merchants. Called the ABC group, it now involves 220 farmers in the Norfolk area all located within 30 miles of our main site. We have similar arrangements in Scotland. Our farming partners are all silver accredited on the SAI platform.

A passion for flavour & science

Crisp Malt Laboratory

We are unique amongst UK maltsters in that the majority of our technical sales team consists of brewing industry professionals. In our past lives we’ve built and run breweries, managed large and craft sites and developed new products. On our production side we have no less than six master maltsters. Backed up by a central lab team and 150 years of malting know-how we have a deep passion for the flavour and science of brewing, distilling and malting. One day you might find our technical team analysing spent draff from a distilling customer so that we can help optimise spirit yield, the next our sales team could be working on a collaboration recipe with our distributors and craft brewing customers around the world. It makes for a pretty rewarding career.

Something old, something new

Crisp Malt Staff at the Maltings, Great Ryburgh, Norfolk

If you have the opportunity to visit our Great Ryburgh maltings, you may find it to be a bit of an Aladdin’s cave. You’ll see (and perhaps even rake) our original 1870s floor maltings – No 19 – see our large batch Saladin and Redler plants, capable of processing 80 and 270 tonne batches, respectively, and we might even give you a peak at our all-electric, super consistent Speciality Maltings Plant where we produce our coloured and crystal malts; it’s the only one of its kind in the UK.

Each malting site adds to the diverse capabilities within our group, which mean we have one of the largest product portfolios in the UK, and we produce everything in house, including our non-malted torrefied cereals.

Work With Us

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. We don’t just sell malt. We want to help our customers grow and for us that means understanding how we can be of service to them. If you’re interested in our malts or just want to talk through a concept or a distilling or brewing recipe, then get in touch today.

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