Craft is changing the face of malt
New Zealand craft maltster, Gladfield, has expanded its operations on the back of strong demand for malts designed specifically for the needs of craft beer.
The new malt plant adds 25,000 tonnes to the annual production capacity in addition to their existing 3500 tonne house, which was installed five years ago.
“We worked closely with a company in Europe who specialises in roasting equipment to build a roaster that gave us greater control of heat transfer to create incredibly even roasting,” said Doug.
The roasting house enables Gladfield to produce over 30 different malt types.
“When we started supplying malt into the brewing industry 14 years ago we found that most of our customers really liked the fact that our product was designed specifically for the beers that they were trying to make,” co-owner Doug Michael said.
“Our malts were designed to give mouthfeel and body and help balance out the extra hops that the craft brewers were using. Our malts had more malty flavours and they were fresher.
“Why we were successful and able to expand was simple: we quickly realised that our customers needed quality and consistency. We found that craft brewers did not have the same level of equipment or resources as the big brewers. They didn’t have the resources to blend batch-to-batch and the mainstream malt that they were receiving was designed for just that and it just didn’t work for them.”
Doug says that working with brewers and incorporating their feedback into his processes has been a hallmark of the small operation also.
“We quickly built close relationships with our customers and were able to further develop our malts to meet the individual needs of each brewer for different beer styles,” he said.
“Our customers appreciated the fact that they could deal direct with us and have an input into what they wanted. This required us to be flexible in not just our way of thinking but also equipment.
“We needed to be nimble and we needed to have absolute control of our malting process so we could guarantee consistency time after time.
His wife and co-owner Gabriella said this was new for many small breweries.
“Many of our overseas customers recognise the importance of customizing malt that is specific to their individual needs,” she said.
“In most cases our customers overseas have never had this luxury before. They like the way they can work directly with the Gladfield team of in-house brewers, malsters and lab technicians to create something that is specific for their brewing and flavour requirements.”