Brewing giant toasts success of ‘Bud Farmers’ home-grown barley scheme
- Credit: Archant
A brewer revealed it was now sourcing three quarters of the barley it uses for UK-brewed Budweiser beer from British farms at an event in Essex this week.
East Anglian growers of Explorer barley, which is used in the beer, were at Agrii’s Throws farm Technology Centre at Stebbing, near Dunmow, on Monday (July 2) at the invitation of brewing giant AB InBev.
The company shared insights with farmers, agronomists and experts about its goal of producing a 100% UK barley beer by 2020 at the annual Bud Farmers event.
The Bud Farmers initiative was welcomed by Stebbing farmer Brian Moore, who is now into his third season of growing Explorer barley over about 50 acres.
“We have got on well with it actually,” he said. “This year at the moment it’s looking very good, even with this heat and drought we’ve had.”
He expected to begin harvesting it in about three weeks’ time.
“The end market is for Budweiser in the UK and I like to grow a crop if we can that’s going to be used in the UK and we don’t have to import then, do we, for the home market?”
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The equivalent of more than 2,000 football pitches of malting barley grown by British farmers expected to be enjoyed by Britons in 150m pints of Budweiser during the FIFA World Cup.
Budweiser is the UK’s second biggest beer brand behind Stella Artois. The introduction of the Explorer grain, which enables barley to be grown in parts of the country previously unsuitable for the crop, has led to a remarkable growth of the ‘Bud Farmers’ programme. This has resulted in 75% of the raw ingredient being grown in the UK, from a standing start four years ago.
Jason Warner, president of AB InBev UK & Ireland said: “Developing a British supply chain is good for farmers, good for the environment and good for our business. I’m proud to see that our Bud Farmers programme is boosting British agriculture and that we are helping farmers to increase and improve barley yields. In a FIFA World Cup year, where Budweiser is the Official Beer and we have pledged to give everyone in England a free Budweiser if we bring home the trophy, this has never been more important.”
Minister for Investment, Graham Stuart MP, who was at the event, welcomed the initiative.