Farming minister toasts the malt industry

FARMING minister Jim Paice raised a glass to the malt industry at a recent meeting with long-established East Anglian maltster Euan Macpherson.

Mr Macpherson, managing director of Crisp Malting Group, which has maltings in Mistley near Manningtree, Ditchingham and Great Ryburgh, visited the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to highlight the importance of the industry to farmers, distillers, brewers and the wider economy.

Mr Paice said: “British beer and whisky is already known the world over for its exceptional quality, but many people don’t know that we’re also one of the world’s largest exporters of their most important ingredient – malt.

“With rising global demand for food and drink, Britain’s producers have got huge opportunities for growth and I applaud the malting industry’s positive impact on our economy, both on a local and national level.”

Crisp exports around 40,000 tonnes of malt from its three plants in East Anglia and two in Scotland.

Mr Macpherson, who is also chairman of the Maltsters Association of Great Britain, said: “Of course it is not only our direct exports that are important but also our indirect ones – through the supply of malt to brewers and distillers.”

The National Farmers’ Union and British Beer and Pub Association recently highlighted the importance of beer and pubs in their Grain to Glass campaign.