Our Growers

For Great Malt you need Great Barley

Ian Green at Corskie Farm in Morayshire harvests his Laureate for Distilling Malt Production

Our malting sites in Scotland, England, Hamburg and Poland are a hive of activity all year round, but even more so at harvest. From July to September farmers are harvesting their malting barley and sending it in to the maltings for drying and storage. It cannot be stated more plainly; without high quality barley we cannot make high quality malt, so our farmers are very important to us.

It should come as no great surprise that our malting sites are located close to where the agricultural action is at. The East of the UK is prime malting barley growing land with light sandy soil favouring the production of low nitrogen spring barley like Laureate and low nitrogen winter barley like the prized Maris Otter and Flagon. Norfolk is especially suited to these types of barley not only due to the soil but also the weather; the North of the county near our Great Ryburgh maltings, sticks out into the North Sea and therefore enjoy even temperatures and moisture levels throughout the growing season, perfect for growing this type of barley. The same goes for the East of Scotland. It’s in counties like Aberdeenshire, Moray, Fife and East Lothian where we work with farmers to grow barley destined for our Portgordon and Alloa Maltings and our Premium Pot Still and Peated Malts.

The UK Barley Map

For Great Barley you need Great Farmers

Soil and weather only go so far when it comes to producing quality and consistency. The human touch is an absolute must so we have developed long terms commitments to farmers over the years. We work directly with hundred of farmers across the UK. Please take a minute to get to know some of them.

North Norfolk Barley Field

Maris Otter®: Norfolk Heirloom

Tony Bambridge has been farming Maris Otter® on four hundred acres of North Norfolk land for 40 years, just 18 miles from our maltings. We asked him what makes Maris Otter® so special to this part of the world.

Find out more

As easy as ABC

Some maltsters own a merchanting division to control the supply of grain from the field as closely as possible. Other will simply buy barley on the spot market at harvest, but this doesn’t give any long term security to the farmers. At Crisp we know that secure and happy farmers produce consistent grain, so nearly 15 years ago we established the ABC Grower Group.

The ABC grower group is a tripartite agreement between two of our local farm merchants Adams & Howling and H Banhams alongside ourselves, Crisp, hence the ABC. Through this agreement, we guarantee three-year rolling contracts to approximately 180 local farmers to grow our winter and spring barleys. We have a committee of farmers that forms part of the ABC steering group and we meet with them regularly to discuss what varieties will be required in the coming years. We regularly host farmers at the maltings and we encourage our customers to visit us and our farmers to learn more about the time and skill that goes into growing their malting barley.

In a normal growing year the ABC group provides about 90,000 tons of our barley requirement for our Great Ryburgh, Ditchingham and Mistley. A key part of the ABC group is the steering committee, consisting of the merchants and four farmers, who meet to talk about where we are going and what varieties we want for the year ahead; this allows us to introduce varieties quicker than just relying on the normal market and in turn, we can offer our customers a better selection of malting barley options.

Find out more

Back to top