When Euan Macpherson joined Crisp Malting Group in 1987, the company was making 120,000 tonnes of malt a year. During his tenure, production has more than trebled to an annual output of 430,000 tonnes: 5% of EU output. This means that Euan has overseen the production of enough malt to make over 64 billion pints of beer, enough to give every person in the UK 1,000 pints each.
Euan is retiring following a lifetime career in brewing, distilling and malting. Adrian Dyter, previously from Boortmalt and Carlsberg, has been shadowing Euan for a short period, and has now fully taken over as Crisp Malting’s managing director.
“At a time when craft brewing and distilling are expanding so rapidly and when interest in ingredients is growing so fast, this is a fantastic company to be joining,” says Adrian. “Quality and customer service are already at the top of Crisp’s agenda. There’s a lot of innovation going on and the team has some of the best technical expertise in the industry.
“All this means the company is well-positioned to accommodate demands from the growing craft beer and whisky sectors in the UK and across the world. It helps that we have one of the country’s three remaining floor maltings; that we can provide grain whole or ready-crushed; and that we’re as happy to deliver 25kg bags as to deliver in bulk.
“In addition to providing the very best malt in the market, our aim is to make things as simple as possible for customers. Euan’s mantra of ‘profitability through complexity’ has been a key factor in Crisp’s success, and will remain a driving force.
“The leadership may have changed, but the focus on fantastic local ingredients, and service which is second to none, hasn’t. It may be challenging to follow the momentum and growth of recent years, but with the excellent team I’ve inherited, it’s definitely possible – and I’m determined to make it happen.
“I’ll be looking to build on the fabulous assets we already have in terms of raw materials, people, plant, product, technical expertise and trade. And,” he concludes, “I’ll be ensuring that we’re responding to the markets and listening to our customers. Hopefully they can join me in raising a glass – or a thousand – to that!”
Crisp Malting Group, the British maltsters who supply craft brewers across the US via BSG CraftBrewing, has just announced the appointment of a new managing director. Adrian Dyter, currently global category manager at Carlsberg, will succeed Euan Macpherson in the early summer. Euan will be retiring after 29 years with Crisp and a lifetime career embracing the brewing, distilling and malting industries.
Current managing director Euan Macpherson will retire after 29 years at Crisp
Adrian is currently responsible for raw material purchasing for Carlsberg’s global spread of breweries. Before joining the Danish brewers at their Swiss base, Adrian enjoyed a distinguished career with Boortmalt (previously Greencore Malt and before that Pauls Malt) as chief commercial officer. He will be moving back to Britain to embark on the handover process and take up his new post in the spring.
Chief executive David Thompson says that the directors are looking forward to welcoming Adrian in the new year. “His skills and experience are ideally suited to the role. The fact he is very familiar with Crisp as a competitor and, more recently, as a customer will give him a good head start.
Chief executive David Thompson says, “During the time Euan has been at the helm, Crisp has expanded significantly, acquiring two maltings and establishing a very strong relationship with barley growers. He’s been directly responsible for building trade with craft brewers in the USA as well as in Britain. This commitment to the burgeoning craft brewing sector has been unstinting and is reflected in the volume and diversification of Crisp’s sales.”
The company now has two maltings in Scotland and three in East Anglia, England. They are all based in prime barley-growing areas – known for producing some of the finest malting barley in the world. The ever-growing range of specialist British malts produced by Crisp is ideal for English ales ranging from bitters, golden ales and IPAs to porters, milds and stouts.
Says Euan Macpherson, “There’s widespread recognition for the exceptional quality of ingredients produced at Crisp’s maltings, and for our strong support of the US craft brewing sector. At the core of the business is a great team – hardworking and committed to the best standards. Adrian will be well supported in his endeavours to further develop the company. He will find in the US a fantastic array of customers who are dedicated to producing consistently top quality British-style beers; who are keen to engage in technical discussions; and who like to experiment with specialist ingredients.”
English Mild mash at Goose Island – photo courtesy Goose Island
Earlier this year, Crisp Malting Group introduced a very limited amount of Chevallier Heritage Malt (about 4 tons) to be distributed by BSG CraftBrewing to various customers. Chevallier was the first true malting barley variety first selected in the 1820’s and has been brought back to commercial production by Crisp Malting Group.
The goal was, and continues to be, to gauge the brewhouse performance, flavor characteristics and overall viability of this malt for brewers. So far, the results have been very promising!
Both Goose Island and Sierra Nevada have brewed beers already, and Tributary Brewing and The Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille are set to brew their own recipes soon as well.
Upon receiving the malt, each brewery has been faced with the question, “what should we brew?” Not surprisingly, traditional English styles were up for consideration right away as everyone thought that traditional English style beers would be a great way to test, and showcase, the qualities of this heirloom variety of malt.
At Goose Island, Mike Siegel, head of Brewing Innovation, decided the malt would be a great candidate to be showcased via their new two-barrel system at their Fulton Street Brewery in Chicago IL. This beer and brew-day would also have special significance, as it would be first of several beers brewed with Goose Island Alums.
Goose Island’s English Dark Mild made with Chevallier Heritage Malt – photo courtesy of Goose Island
This particular beer was brewed with former Goose Island Brewmaster Greg Hall. Greg decided to brew an English Dark Mild, as a nod to the first beer he ever made as the Brewmaster at Goose Island.
At 3.7% ABV, the beer showed off the malt character, and was true to tradition and style; making it a great showcase for Chevallier.
Abe Kabakoff, Head Pilot Brewer, milling Chevallier Heritage Malt – photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada (Isaiah Mangold)
Many miles away, the team at Sierra Nevada also settled on an English style - ESB. According to Sierra Nevada’s Head Pilot Brewer, Abe Kabakoff, the brew-day went well and they’re excited about the finished beer. They also performed a 100% Chevallier congress mash, and their findings revealed aromas of mild sweetness, chocolate milk, honey, and other pleasant attributes along with tastes that mirrored some of the aromas with an overall mellow sweetness.
Isaiah Mangold, Pilot Brewer, examines the wort – photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada (Abe Kabakoff).
So what’s next? Brew more beers with Chevallier, and see what happens of course. Tributary Brewing will be brewing two recipes soon, a 19th century Old Ale and a Baltic Porter trading ale from the same period. Noted beer author and brewer Horst Dornbusch will team up with brewmaster Rik Marley of The Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille in New London, NH to brew a 19th-century Munich Helles with 92% Chevallier. Their goal is to showcase the versatility of this heirloom malt also for classic German beers. The Munich Helles, incidentally, was first released on March 21, 1894, during the heyday of Chevallier popularity in brew houses all around the world. As results keep coming in from the various breweries, we’ll share the information.
There will be far more than 4 tons of Chevallier Heritage malt with the 2015 crop, and the plan is to increase the availability year after year. As brewers are looking to play with new ingredients, sometimes the old becomes “the new”. For malt that was a primary ingredient in 19th Century English beers, there must be good reason for Chevallier’s past popularity; because of this, there is palpable excitement about what Chevallier can contribute not only to traditional beer styles, but also to innovative ideas and recipes.
As always, American brewers are melding past and present to create an exciting future for beer.
"Malt is the new hops." - that’s a statement we’ve been hearing lately from brewers. The demand for unique ingredients is driving innovation in beer styles, flavor, and malthouse production.
In response to this demand, Crisp Malting Group has begun developing a range of heritage malts with New Heritage Barley of Norwich, England, to complement Crisp's range of premium malts and excellent floor malts. This includes malt made from Chevallier, a barley variety first selected for malting in the 1820’s and which by the late 19th century was being used globally for malt production.
Only 5 tons of Chevallier barley was available from the 2014 crop, resulting in only 4 tons of the precious malt, made at Crisp’s No. 19 floor malting in Great Ryburgh, Norfolk.
BSG CraftBrewing, exclusive distributors of Crisp Malt in the US have imported the first Chevallier Heritage Malt available in the US and have arranged for several notable breweries to run brewing trials on this very limited first production. Crisp plans to increase production of Chevallier with the 2015 crop, and continue to develop exciting malts to meet the demands of brewers, and their consumers.
After all, malt is the new hops.
Stay tuned to this space for developing news about Chevallier malt and the brewing trials!
On a recent trip across the pond to the UK, BSG CraftBrewing’s John Guzman – Southern US Sales Manager, Chris German - Midwest Sales Manager, Laura Hansen - Director of Supply Chain and I had the pleasure of visiting Crisp Malting Group at their Great Ryburgh malting facility, visiting the Maris Otter “Mother-field”, and taking in the sites of Cambridge while enjoying some stellar UK beers.
Our tour guides from Crisp for the day were Euan Macpherson - Group Managing Director, Rob Moody - Director Group Logistics & Craft Brewing, Steve LePoidevin - Sales Director, and Jake Lambert - Maltings Manager. There wasn’t a question that couldn’t be answered, or aspect of the malting facility that couldn’t be explained.
We started off right way with one of the areas used for floor malting. At one time the facility was one of the largest floor malting sites in Europe. It’s now become one of the largest and most efficient malting plants in the UK, producing 115,000 tons of finished malt per annum.
After raking the floor malt a bit, and taking in the history that comes along with a building from the 1850’s, we headed to the weighing station, labs, R & D area and warehouses. We hadn’t even begun to look at the where the bulk of the malt is produced and we were already in awe!
The scale and modernization of the facility was impressive to say the least, and to witness how so much Maris Otter and other premium UK malts are made certainly gave us a greater appreciation for the process, technique and people that create the great malt of Crisp Malting Group. One of the aspects that makes the Great Ryburgh facility so special is that is situated in the heart of the prime barley growing region of the UK, North Norfolk, which allows this facility to take in high quality barley directly from growers, not far from the field. In so many ways, this malting facility and the surrounding community are built on the growing of barley, malting and the breweries that use the malt to make beer; a full circle of economic prosperity, community building and sustainability.
After a thorough tour of the facility, we were far from over with the day’s events. Steve had secured the location of the Maris Otter “Mother-field”, and we were going to say hi. This field if referred to as the Mother-field because it’s where Maris Otter was first grown. It is now a Pre-Basic field, which means it’s the first stage of the multiplication process of propping up seeds for commercial use.
Barley seeds go through 5 steps before they are ready to be used for commercial growing. Seeds first come from breeders as Breeder Seed, this is then grown into barley to create Pre-Basic seed, the Pre-Basic seeds are then used to grow Basic Seed, then to C1 seed, then to C2 seed and finally the seeds collected from the C2 plantings becomes the seeds used for growing the commercial malting barley. Whew! That’s a long journey before it’s even considered to be used to create malt, much less beer.
This process speaks to the work being done behind the scenes; all along the way the seed is analyzed to ensure it’s a single variety, and the seed is meeting strict quality standards. The seed breeders, merchants, farmers, and maltsters all play a critical role in making sure that quality barley makes it’s way to the malt house.
Quality and consistency are just as important upstream from the brewery, as it is downstream to the beer drinker. From farm to table, the same tenets that signify success are true for everyone. If you’re making and/or enjoying a great beer, make sure to thank a farmer!
After a full day of malt houses and budding Maris Otter fields, it was time to head to the lovely and historic city of Cambridge. It was a first time for many of us, and Steve and Rob from Crisp made sure we had a fantastic evening of activities; floating on a punt while taking in the sites of the University, drinking at a few famous pubs, and having a wonderful meal that paired some serious meat dishes with some splendid real ales.
Truly a day and night to remember.
We hold a great deal of value, respect and appreciation for our suppliers, in large part because they make, produce and provide some of the world’s best brewing ingredients. And with those ingredients, brewers around the US are making beers that are setting new standards of quality, flavor and innovation world-wide. But in equal parts, we hold them in such high regard because they share our principles of building success on quality, people, partnerships and love of great beer. BSG is proud to represent and distribute Crisp Malting Group here in the US, and we know our customers appreciate using their world-class malts.
Cheers to great beers made from select ingredients,
Jake Keeler – BSG Market Manager