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Open day: there’s definitely an educational feel to that.

Schools, colleges and universities hold open days, allowing would-be scholars to grab insights into the subject matters, the way things work, and the culture of the place. The main aim of course, is inspiration. Ditto the Crisp Open Days.

Groups of people arriving at the Crisp Open Day

What to expect

At our summer Open Days we welcome brewers and distillers to our Gt Ryburgh site in North Norfolk. The idea is to provide them with a bit of an education in barley, malt and malting. A bit? Well, more than a bit. We’d kick ourselves if anyone left without significantly more knowledge than when they arrived!

The day starts with an introduction to members of the team. After all, beavering away behind the scenes are our many specialists and technical experts, who have things to share, stories to tell, and advice to give.

Then there’s a drop in to farm where – because it’s June – the crops are still green and are growing fast. Here, one of our growers will talk through all sorts of things about, and connected with, barley. That might include climate, topography, soils, sowing, fertilising, care, and harvesting – as well as barley varieties and barley facts.

Brewers and distillers then get a tour of the site, a view of the processes, and information about the biological changes that take place in the grains. They get to see grain intake, where there are rigorous checks for raw material quality, even though we’ve also virtually always made checks on loads before they even leave the farm. We need to be sure, and doubly sure that only the best raw grain makes it into our steeps. Just like you’d want only the best malt to make it into your mash tuns.

After grain intake, it’s past the storage silos (which are carefully regulated in terms of moisture and temperature), to the steeping vessels, the floor maltings, the larger malting facilities, the kiln and the bagging line.

The fields on our doorstep

This year, as ever, we were lucky enough to have a talk by Tom Rivett when we out in the fields. He is a director at H Banham, the grain merchants who jointly rescued and revived the Maris Otter barley variety. So they are grain merchants to whom we, and countless craft brewers are indebted.

Tom talked not only about the barley, but also about the frame of wildflowers surrounding the field being visited. He extolled this area as a habitat for invertebrates, including wild pollinators such as bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies and hoverflies, and farmland birds like the yellowhammer.

Becky Gee, our Grain Procurement Manager talked about the importance of the relationships we have with farmers supplying our sites in Norfolk, Scotland, Germany and Poland – and about the prospects for this year’s harvests.

People having a tour of crops during the Crisp Open Day

A taste of the end product

A man passes a cup of beer to another man to tasteTo fully appreciate the raw materials and the malted ingredients, you have to go a step or two further down the supply chain. That is, to the beer. So, before the coach journey to take everyone pub-wards, Barsham Brewery gave folk a tasting of three of their excellent beers, all using Maris Otter grown on the estate where the brewery is housed, and traditionally malted by Crisp on our floors.

Tom Trivedi and Rob Howlett from Barsham, went through the tasting notes, while our Sales Manager, Mike Benson, spoke at length about the impact made by different malts on the flavour, colour and texture of beers.

What you thought of the day…

What we love most about our partnership with Crisp is the offering of the floor maltings. With it being so rare in the country, it’s great to have a fully functioning one that delivers superb malt for our whiskies. It gives us a great point of difference. What’s more, we realise we couldn’t get the same level of expertise anywhere else.

Crisp staff member smiling at the cameraTom Lunn, Forest Distillery

I would like to say a massive thank you to you all the staff and directors for organising a tremendous day. From when we arrived, we were treated superbly. The speakers were clear informative and full of expert knowledge. Although I know a little about the malting process I never imagined or considered the attention to detail or the scale of the operation. I was staggered to see how the whole process was coordinated. It was equally enjoyable to meet many of the staff and see how they work so well as a team.  Brilliant – and you even arranged a day of sunshine!!

Bill Russell, Equal Brewkery

A massive thanks for the Open Day, we loved it. We found the scale of the Maltings incredible and all-in-all it was a really informative day. Everyone was super friendly and we were wowed by all the guides knowledge.

The team at DEYA Brewing

Can I thank you and the team for a marvellous day yesterday. I really enjoyed it, especially the opportunity to see the barley in the field, not something we brewers often get the chance to do. Great hospitality and a brilliant evening.

Mark at Oakham Ales


Would like to know more, we’d love to hear from you; get in touch via email here.

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