It is hard to imagine 6.5 million tonnes of malt. That is the quantity in which our Craft Brewing and Logistics Director, Rob Moody, has been involved during his 37 years in the malting industry. This is the amount required for brewers to make around 100 billion pints of beer or malt distillers to make 9 billion bottles of whisky. However, as Rob steps away from work to pursue his other long-neglected interests, it is not the large numbers that give him a sense of time well spent.
“It is the people,” he says, “my brilliant team, great colleagues – and the amazing brewers and distillers we’ve had the privilege to work with. It’s been a hugely exciting time to be in the sector, especially with all the opportunities for innovation stimulated by the boom in craft beer.
“I have been so lucky. I just hope the country’s fantastic array of brewers and distillers can get back on their feet successfully after the pandemic.”
Following a false start in surveying, in 1984, Rob followed in his dad’s footsteps by joining Guinness to work at its floor maltings in Diss, South Norfolk. Ten years later, Diageo closed the site, and Rob joined Crisp Malt as Barley Intake Supervisor at the maltings in Gt Ryburgh, Norfolk.
In July 2002, the company bought a maltings in Alloa in the south-east of Scotland. Rob was sent north with a set of keys and a torch and the instruction to get the place, previously owned by Bass, up and running again. More than that: he was set a production target of supplying 1,000 tonnes of malt within less than 4 months.
As soon as local people spotted activity at the site, Rob was contacted by several former maltings employees seeking to be taken on by the new owners. He was hugely impressed by the enthusiasm and support for the project – and ended up with a workforce made up of 50% previous Bass maltings employees and 50% new blood.
“They were really great guys to work with,” says Rob, “and the time spent at the maltings in Scotland is one of the highlights of my career. We pulled together as a team, worked stupidly long hours, overcame endless issues with the plant, and delivered on the challenges we’d been set. We’d reached 1,000 tonnes of malt by the end of October and went on increasing production in the months that followed. I loved it.”
The Alloa maltings is still an integral part of our business, with recent investment in a new bagging line. “This ensures Scottish craft brewers can buy barley that has been grown, malted and bagged in Scotland – a first in the industry,” says Rob.
A year after the Alloa maltings set up, Rob was coaxed back to England to restructure our head office in Great Ryburgh, set up a ‘central services unit’ (CSU), and improve planning and logistics to ensure 365 days a year malt production. These he did – and has been running the CSU ever since.
The changes foretold and helped the emergence of a buoyant craft sector.
When Anglia Maltings (Holdings) acquired Crisp Malt in 2005, Rob was appointed as a director, responsible for logistics, and later for its craft brewing sector business. “Right up my street,” as Rob says. “A professional reason and a personal excuse for sampling a wide range of beers – and enjoy the huge range of flavours and styles that are made with our malts.”
More breweries and distilleries, more beers and whiskies, and greater experimentation means more complexity in the supply chain. For us, it meant building the capability to supply smaller specialist orders to multiple destinations without compromising the efficiency needed for the large volume brewers and distillers. The 5 or 6 SKU’s offered when Rob first took on the job now number over 100, and the number of customers has increased 1,000%! Production and sales of speciality malts and crushed malts in bags has spiralled.
Our managing director Adrian Dyter says, “Rob has played an instrumental part in the evolution of the company. His enthusiasm for the new direction the market was taking, pushing for change, and laying the foundations of our support to the craft brewing sector has been critical.
“In addition to his other responsibilities, Rob has been heading up marketing, seeing through the company’s rebrand. The results are clean and modern whilst simultaneously capturing our heritage and longstanding support to customers.
“In paying tribute to his 27 years’ with Crisp Malt and 37 years’ service to the malting industry, I would like to thank Rob for his passion and commitment, as well as for his skills and knowledge. He has definitely helped to make the company what it is today; he’s been a truly excellent colleague, and we will all miss him.”
“I’m leaving at a time when things have been thrown up in the air for the drinks industry. At Crisp Malt, it’s been all hands on deck to support brewers and distillers in whatever way we can. I honestly believe that the service my colleagues have provided to customers – and to the wider industry – has been second to none.”