Create beers of provenance with Signature Malt March 2020

Morning sun over barley

Bintani has launched the second iteration of its Signature Malt initiative, announcing Tasmania as the source for ‘Australia’s best’ barley for 2019.

The Signature Malt program has been developed in conjunction with Joe White Maltings and Mont Stuart, Operations Manager for Joe White Maltings, said the program aims to find the best malting barley in the country.

“The whole idea was to have barley from a small defined area that represents what we believe is the best barley in Australia. And then we malt that at the local maltings,” Stuart said.

This year’s malt comes from around Ross in Tasmania’s midlands, which Stuart said had experienced “absolutely perfect conditions” this year and made the malting process much easier with a higher quality result.

“If you get barley from a really perfect crop the water uptake [during malting] is uniform, the enzyme development can be controlled better,” he said.

Last year’s Signature Malt came from New South Wales, but Bintani’s Dale Meddings said Tasmania was the pick of the crop in 2019.

“This year, despite the fact that it was a horrible barley season just about all over the country, we were able to isolate some really magnificent parcels of barley down in Tassie and so we’re going to see a really high quality product,” he said.

Meddings said consistency of grain size is a big issue for craft brewers and the efficiency they can achieve in the brewhouse, which Signature Malt addesses.

“The grain size consistency of Signature Malt is much better for craft brewers through much greater efficiency,” he said.

“Craft brewers generally use a two roller mill. Malt outside of the norm falls through and you lose the extract efficiency.

“For our brewers it’s a level of attention that they haven’t received from the big maltsters before but it’s something that we feel is important.”

Moo Brew head brewer Dave Magill said that consistency is something that brewers are increasingly looking to in their beers and, as a result, also in their ingredients.

“Being able to build a beer around the consistency of a product is extremely important at the present time,” he said.

“We only use four ingredients. The differentiation between beers has to come from consistency within the brewhouse and also from the raw materials that you actually get your hands on.”

Brand Tasmania’s Pip Dawson said the single source of origin was an important element of a product such as malt.

“I do think consumers care. There’ll be some who just go and drink beer and aren’t interested it, but I think more and more people are interested in that,” she said.

“They want to hear the story, and I think particularly in Tassie, but probably elsewhere as well, it also comes into that experience piece.

“Whether it goes with the brewpub, people want to come experience the beer, are willing to pay more but want to hear more about it and perhaps actually go and see how it’s brewed and see how it’s made and have that experience as well,” she said.

You can hear more from Brand Tasmania’s Pip Dawson, together with Moo Brew Head Brewer Dave Magill, barley grower Dave Skipper, Maltser Dave Bauld and Bintani’s Justin Fox in this special podcast looking at the background of Signature Malt.


Full Transcript

Matt Kirkegaard: Hi, I’m Matt Kirkegaard, and welcome to a special edition of Radio Brews News looking at Bintani’s latest iteration of its Signature Malt series. Signature Malt is Bintani’s partnership with Joe White Maltings to locate the best barley in Australia in any year, and malt it to the needs of craft brewers.

Now this content has been produced in partnership with Bintani, but we thought it was well worth digging a little deeper into the story of Signature Malt, as it says a lot about the way the industry is shaping itself around the needs of small brewers as a result of the growth and maturity of the craft beer industry.

This program stretches right across the supply chain, from the growers to the maltsters to the brewers, and even has impacts on a regional level, as you’ll hear from Brand Tasmania’s Pip Dawson. It’s an interesting discussion, and if nothing else you’ll learn a lot about barley and malt and good beer.

I started by asking Bintani sales manager, Justin Fox, what Signature Malt represents.

What does signature malt represent?

Justin Fox: The Signature Malt is our ability to get craft brewers back on top of the pile in terms of selection of barley and where that’s malted and how it’s treated, and even through to specification. So whilst the global market is pretty big in malt, and as the domestic malt plays into that global market pretty heavily, the craft brewers now, I guess through Bintani, we’ve got a voice that’s strong enough from the collective of people to get to our lots, pick our specific barley, and really put the craft industry and what the brewers are accessing on top of the pile. As a customer, as a collective, we’re sort of the priority of it.

The ingredients have always been pretty good. So across everything that everyone’s doing in Australia, the malt is of great quality. We always get malted grade barley and that’s producing great beer when it’s translated through the brewery. I guess what the craft market, to get the attention of the bigger maltsters, there’s a critical mass where we can make the numbers work and the industry’s got to that point where we can specifically target full silos of two, three hundred ton at a time malted to a specific set of specifications that’s really gonna suit the craft brewer.

If you were to take a look at it from the advantages of Joe White as a maltster, and the reach that they have across Australia, so they’re able to access barley depending on how the agronomics of the season went, they’re gonna be able to access great pockets of barley. As a result of that, the barley might move around through a season, and the smaller breweries aren’t really in a position to counter that. So whilst you’re getting slight variation in size and things like that, they’re actually bigger problems to a small brewer than they are to a big brewer.

What we’re doing with Signature Malt is we’re ensuring that we’re getting that same pocket, that consistency, and cutting out some of the problems that arise from having such a great scope of malt to the craft brewer.

Matt Kirkegaard: Before starting work with Bintani, Justin Fox was a brewer with big brewers such as Swan, and smaller brewers such as Colonial. I asked him if there was a difference in the ingredients needs for big brewers and small brewers.

Justin Fox: I don’t think so. Everyone wants to use the finest ingredients. I mean, every business, everyone wants to put the best into their beer, and the big guys and the little guys are no different. I think the big guys are probably more prepared to move and adjust, it’s more of a proactive approach to seeing the specification move through the year, seeing a different size kernel come in, watching as the friability moves a little bit later in the season and those kind of aspects that they can react in advance to keep the beer consistent.

Whereas the craft brewer’s probably more reactive in those. They’re seeing movement in the beer, “Oh what’s gone wrong? Let’s go back, look at the spec, okay I’m losing here, now I’ve got to try and adjust my mill,” which is not the easiest thing for a craft brewer to do. Most of us like to set and forget that. And so, again, what we’re trying to do with Signature is not only use that malt, we’re trying to provide that next range of data behind it.

At Swan we were looking at absolutely every spec and moving and seeing the graphs and the trends and taking the numbers out of the data and looking at it as a graph so you can see the slow movement and counteract the change before it happens. Signature, we’re gonna do that as well. So you’ll get the data, you’ll get the analysis of what’s happening through the year, because despite even picking the exact same plot of barley and using that all year through the same maltster, there will be movement through the year. It’s a natural product and we’ll be ahead of the game for the brewers on that as well.

Matt Kirkegaard: So I asked Justin, what does Signature Malt give craft brewers that they’re not already getting?

Justin Fox: Consistency would be one of the best. I mean, the consistency aspect I think is really really important to brewers, especially for your base malt. I think more and more of the beers, we’re realizing you can design and create really interesting flavors with limited specialty malt. You don’t have to be 40, 50% specialties, you can really get that base malt level up in your beers, have that consistency of efficiency, and lautering and all of those things. So if you can have a really reliable product in that aspect, that you know is gonna go well through your mill, know it’s gonna perform well for you and have a good flavor as well in your final product, then that takes a big weight off your shoulders in the beer, in your recipe development. Because you know that base structure is there and gonna perform well.

The spec is a little tighter than the Export Pils and the Trad Ale, and the benefit of that, again, is because it’s a specific batch targeted for Bintani, we are able to specify our own requirements. We are able to drill in on those aspects, and we don’t have to worry about it coming from different plants as well. Dave and the crew down at Devonport know they can hit a tighter spec because they do have great control over their process, whereas the other batches can move around a little bit because they are coming from different spots. And we all know that you can take the exact same recipe and brew it in a different brewery and it’s gonna come out slightly different, and it’s no different to trying to malt the same barley in a different spot.

So getting that single source, single origin, single maltster and locking that away for a year just brings stability to everything you’re doing in the brewery.

What does a brewer look for in malt?

Matt Kirkegaard: The Dave that Justin was referring to there was Dave Macgill, head brewer at Tasmania’s Moo Brew Brewery. So I asked Dave, what does he look for when he’s looking for malt?

Dave Macgill: Not adjusting our mill settings is a good start. It’s interesting off the back of what Justin said, being able to build a beer around consistency of a product’s extremely important at the present time. We see much more noise now in the craft beer industry than we ever have before, so therefore we only use four ingredients so the differentiation between beers has to come from consistency within the brewhouse and also those from the raw materials that you actually get your hands on. Being able to interact with somebody, we’ve been up here in Devonport getting malt for over 13 years from the one spot, and it makes up the base malt across half of our core stars, so we’ve really built beers based around that level of quality base malt that we’ve been getting.

Matt Kirkegaard: Hops arguably kick-started the craft beer renaissance, fired a lot of imaginations. Do you think as the industry matures a little bit that we’re starting to see more focus on some of the other ingredients and malt is starting to shine?

Dave Macgill: Yeah, most definitely. I think when we’ve seen the move in hops at the present time with some of the new world hops that we are seeing that are big in flavor and they stem the whole way across the brewing process in the bittering and in the aromatic side of things, they’re all well and good, but if they’re not backed up by a well put-together malt bill then they just fall over at the end of the day.

We’re seeing huge alpha, big IPAs and so forth like that, but the beers that are really standing out are the ones that have that harmonious balance between the malt and the hops, otherwise beers become out of whack very very quickly. So I think it is leading to brewers looking at the best way in which they can put their malt bill together to accommodate some of the aggressive nature of these new hops that are coming through.

Matt Kirkegaard: You mentioned the need to not adjust your mill settings. Is that an issue when you’re getting a generic malt, for want of a better term, malt that’s been sourced from multiple regions, it can have a variety of different sizes. Does that impact you in the brew house?

Dave Macgill: For us not as much. It is much better, we are very strict as to around where we get our raw material from and our malt, for that reason, because we know what works in our brewery. We’ve been lucky enough to be around for a long time. If you’re only young, and a lot of the breweries now are less than five years old, that would actually play a massive part while you’re trying to feel your way, and you might have a particular beer that’s taking off and all of a sudden it goes from a couple thousand liters a year to 100, 150,000 liters, and when you are put under that pressure and you see that growth, it becomes difficult.

So for us, as far as not changing those mill settings is concerned, we have the option to do it if we wanted to, but we choose to do it very very rarely in order to make sure that we can get the job done. Again, having said that, if you’re looking at Swan Brewery or one of the other bigger breweries, if you are 3% down on efficiency in our size brewery, that’s okay, but if you’re 20 million liters a year and you’re 3% out on your efficiency, that becomes a massive problem at the end of the day.

Matt Kirkegaard: You said up front that it didn’t affect you because you’d been fairly careful where you selected your product from, was that borne of experience? Or did you deliberately choose to get your malt where you got it from to avoid those problems?

Dave Macgill: Yeah, we have. Yeah, we’ve done trials elsewhere and so forth and we found what works. Moo Brew’s always been quite deliberate in the styles that they do brew, and we’ve also been quite deliberate in the way in which we go about brewing those styles. So we seek consistency and quality above everything else within the brew house.

What makes a good grain for malt?

Matt Kirkegaard: Having learned a little bit about what brewers look for, I asked Dave Bauld, the plant manager at Joe White’s Launceston Maltings, what makes for good malt? And what are the challenges in securing good barley?

Dave Bauld: We’re lucky because Tassie malt’s some of the best malt to malt.

Matt Kirkegaard: Are you saying that as a Tasmanian?

Dave Bauld: No. The other guys on the mainland, they are quite envious of the quality of our grain, so we’re very lucky. A lot of the times we have to source barley from the mainland because we can’t lock in a decent tonnage down here, but with the Signature Malt we’ll be able to look to that, look there anyway. It just gives us more flexibility.

Matt Kirkegaard: Why is it difficult to lock in the tonnage down here?

Dave Bauld: It’s, well everyone wants Tassie grain for some reason. And it’s very big in feed, so it takes a little bit more to look after malting barley than it is feed, and there’s not much price differential towards the two of them. Dave Skipper might be able to touch on that, but if we don’t source some good growers and lock in some decent amounts of tons, we’re gonna be in the same boat with no stock.

Do growers have to consciously choose to grow malting barley?

Matt Kirkegaard: The Dave Skipper that Dave Bauld referred to is the General Manager of a Tasmanian barley producer, so I asked him whether demand for feed barley made it difficult for growers to grow specifically for the needs of brewers.

Dave Skipper: Yeah, it really comes back down to price and yield for the growers, you know? Good price, high yield, their gross margins are looking good. There’s so many competing resources for their farm, so they’re looking at wheat and barley and hemp these days, and poppies, so there’s a big range. Barley’s really got to fit into that gross margin, so it’s a really competing resource to try and fit into the rotations over their cropping cycle.

Saying that, there is a big call on feed down here. So feed barley is really big, and as Dave Bauld said, the differential between the feed price and the malt price hasn’t been that big, and therefore growers are saying, “Well, I can either look after the crop and takes me a bit more time and effort and costs me a few more dollars, or do I just let it go and turn it into feed and still make the same sort of money?”

So there’s that competing interest of the cost of the crop.

Matt Kirkegaard: Is it incumbent on brewers who want the best ingredients to be willing to pay that little bit more to secure, to convince barley growers to invest in giving them the product that they need?

Dave Skipper: Yeah, I think so. Down here in Tassie it’s all about a dollar for these guys, to make sure their enterprises are achieving the highest gross margin. So at the end of the day, it’s gonna be a dollar that drives that malt barley or that barley crop roatation.

Matt Kirkegaard: And what was it about this season? Apparently it’s been a great season for Tasmanian barley. What was it about this particular season that has really seen it shine?

Dave Skipper: Last year was one out of the box. I haven’t seen a season like it, it’s just been fantastic. While the mainland was suffering in drought, all our growers had a really beautiful season. It was pretty tight early on, about this time last year, so in April/May it was pretty tight, just had rain that happened at really convenient times, and of course anyone who had barley, it really took off.

We kept getting rain right through, we had a really good spring, it was really soft finished, and of course when you’re growing barley, a softer finish is really good. Puts a lot of plump back in the grain, gives a lot of protein.

Matt Kirkegaard: What does a soft finish mean?

Dave Skipper: Soft finish means not too hot and dry. In other words, we still had rain but it was still maturing beautifully and we still had that warm weather, sunlight, all coming through. Whereas, say in the western districts of New South Wales where they grow hard white wheats, they really need a hard finish. So a hard finish is basically no rain, really long daylight, and really a lot of heat so that actually hardens up the grain. But down in Tassie we have a very soft finish, and this year was one out of the box. It just went right through to December, and when we started receiving the barley, the first two weeks I couldn’t believe how much malt barley was coming through, kept coming through. In fact I didn’t put any into a feed bin until week four or something like that, and then we just didn’t even bother testing it because there was so much of it about.

What made the Tasmanian grain this year’s choice?

Matt Kirkegaard: It was interesting to hear that Tasmania had delivered up the best grain this year, as when I approached Bintani early this year to find out about their plans for the 2019 Signature Malt, Western Australia was looking to be the chosen source. Tasmania was a very late decision. I asked Justin about that.

Justin Fox: I guess one of the benefits is that we’re looking at all of these different pockets and trying to pick it, because it’s never gonna be repeatable. As Dave mentioned, it was one out of the box. I think the eyes were maybe a little bit even off the prize. As he said, it just kept coming in and coming in and suddenly, it’s a bit of a later harvest anyway down here, it’s broken dormancy a little bit later, so even the release of Signature this year will be a little bit later as a result of that.

Everything was looking like WA and that was going to be the pocket this year, with the drought in New South Wales and the conditions in Victoria just not producing the top quality stuff. Suddenly the messages started coming out of Tassie, “No we’ve got the volume this year, we’re not gonna have to import, we’re gonna be able to look after our feed down here, we’re gonna be able to look after the distilleries and the brewers.” And breweries like Moo Brew, they’re gonna get their pocket of barley that they’ve well secured, but there’s enough of it this year and it just kept coming in. This is the time, we’ve finally got a chance to take it to the mainland and showcase some of Tassie’s best up there.

Matt Kirkegaard: With such competition for grain and the challenges for growers to produce malting-grade barley, I asked Dave Macgill what brewers should be doing to ensure growers have a reason to grow for them.

Dave Macgill: I think it’s a matter of the brewers educating the consumer as well as to some of the reasons why craft beer is a little bit more expensive at the tap point, and that’s not just because of the wages and so forth, and the more manual labor. But we have to be able to give growers confidence to go out and know that if they do put that little bit extra in, that it will benefit them on the other side.

Breweries create and amazing sense of place and people are very happy to drink in their local breweries, but local breweries then have to stem that sense of place out into the agricultural side of things. Without the confidence in the agricultural side of things we won’t get those raw materials and these things like Signature, they won’t happen. So we definitely need to educate the consumer as to the reasons why it’s a little bit more and be prepared to pay a little bit more at the farm gate.

Matt Kirkegaard: What I hear you saying is there’s a real parallel between craft brewers demanding a high price for their product because they feel that it’s better and it’s got a story behind it, as opposed to some of the more mainstream products, craft brewers should be willing to look at their barley producers and their malt producers the same way?

Dave Macgill: Most definitely. Malt, when you look at the overall price of putting beer into a can or into a bottle or into a keg, the actual malt is not a great deal in the cost of putting a beer together. As much as, I don’t want to be talking about upping my price whilst in the room with my distributors, it is something that we have to be prepared to do if we want the consistency and the quality of this product to continue into the future. If I was a farmer, I would have serious reservations about whether or not I was gonna do malted-grade barley knowing that I was gonna get the same for feed-grade barley. That, or if you were gonna go into hemp or into poppies or canola or something else that’s another product that can turn over through the rotations.

Craft breweries have great access to consumers, we have the ability to be able to tell stories really well. I think things like Signature and the likes of these kinds of podcasts today, we can actually then put the spotlight back on the farmers and so forth. Because farmers have an amazing story, they’ve got amazing generations of families that have worked on farms and so forth like that. Probably telling those stories through social media and the way in which we do it on an every day basis is probably not their strong point, but being able to draw the expertise that we have back into the agricultural side of things definitely helps.

How much extra work is involved for the grower?

Matt Kirkegaard: Dave Skipper, explain to me how much extra work, how much extra cost, how much extra difficulty is there in a barley producer growing malting-grade barley over feed-grade barley? And what is the price differential between the two?

Dave Skipper: Probably at the moment, just starting on price, when I got into this game 10 years ago, price differential was probably $70 or $80 between feed and malt.

Matt Kirkegaard: What are the per ton prices?

Dave Skipper: Just to give you an idea let’s say it was $280 for feed and $340, $350 for malt. That’s the sort of differential probably eight, 10 years ago I suppose. Maybe even more depending on the demand for it. These days, in the last few years, it’s been $20, $25. The differential doesn’t really pay back for the amount of extra work.

There’ll be extra runs for weed control, there’s extra runs for fertilizer. So every time you take a tractor out you’re always burning diesel, you’re putting on very expensive products, you tend to be maintaining that crop a lot more, so you’re doing a lot more with that crop.

Whereas feed barley, guys’ll just scratch it in, they’ll wait for a rain, they’ll put a bit of fertilizer on, probably apply a couple of chemicals, and sort of let it go. Whereas if you’re actually managing it there’s a time and effort involved in that. And at $20, they’re not seeing that pay back. But at certain stages, I don’t know what that differential would be, but there’s a point where they say, “Right, it’s worth my while in doing it.”

Matt Kirkegaard: What drives such a low differential for so much extra work?

Dave Skipper: It’s really supply and demand in the market. We’re a global player, even in Tassie, so our feed barley prices are linked to what’s happening both on the mainland and globally what’s happening around the world. It’s very much linked to that, and of course you can’t expect to be paying, or can’t expect maltsters will be paying $100 or $150 above feed prices. There has to be a reasonable level, so it’s a difficult calculation to make.

What does provenance add to a brand story?

Matt Kirkegaard: With story telling a big part of the craft beer story, and it turns out the ingredient story, I asked Philippa Dawson from Brand Tasmania how sense of place plays into the story that brewers can tell.

Philippa Dawson: From a brand point of view there’s obviously the clean and green image that we have, but more importantly it is really that quality and our food safety systems and things like that. So it’s how we can tell that story, and tell it from the farm point of view right through to product and the craft beer space, in this story.

It’s really, I think this is a great year for the Signature Malt for Tassie. We’re talking about a bumper season from a barley growing perspective, but I think it sort of links in then clearly with the craft beer industry really taking off. And the number of brewers, I think you said, Dave, in the last five years the number of brewers that have popped up, so it’s a really great story and a great time. And I think it ties back into some of the consistency as well.

From the brand point of view, if we’re telling the story it needs to have that consistency behind it as well. The provenance piece and being able to showcase Tasmania, and then hopefully drive that higher price, is really key.

Matt Kirkegaard: It all sounds good, but I had to ask Philippa, do consumers really care?

Philippa Dawson: I do think consumers care. I think there’s obviously a market segmentation piece, there’ll be some who’ll just go and drink beer and aren’t interested in it, but I think more and more people are interested in that. They want to hear the story, and I think particularly in Tassie but probably elsewhere as well, it also comes into that experience piece. Whether it goes with the brew pub or something like that, people want to come experience the beer, are willing to pay more but want to hear more about it. And perhaps actually go and see how it’s brewed and see how it’s made and have that experience as well.

It lines up with a few key sectors here, but I think more and more people are interested in that story. And I think that plays across the whole food spectrum, I think people want to see where, if you’re having a steak, you may want to see where the cow was grown and all that sort of thing as well. So I think that provenance story is going to become stronger and stronger.

How does a brewer tell the story?

Matt Kirkegaard: Dave, how do you tell the story? Moo Brew, for example, when I think of Moo Brew I think of pioneering Tasmanian brewery, I think of the art and the distinctive bottles. How, when you’ve got such a strong brand already, do you weave the story of provenance into your marketing as well, without then having too many messages?

Dave Macgill: Yeah for sure, that’s a good question. We try to be as proactive as we can within Tasmania, as we have a very good platform. One, making beer, two, being attached to MONA, three, being around for 14 years nearly. Any opportunity we do get to talk about it off the back of where the beers come from, you know our single hop, for example, is an all-Tasmanian hop and all-Tasmanian barley, and that was a beer that was designed around making an approachable craft beer with a story behind it.

A lot of our beers are reasonably stylistic, but part of the art means that we get to either pay homage to them or take the piss out of them, which is the way our artist has always done it. We work hard to make a Czech-style pilsner with Tasmanian pale malt and some hops from Germany and stuff like that, so we sort of try and tell it in a roundabout way through the story of where we came from and the reasons why we’ve created the beers that we have.

Any opportunity to be involved with the Tas Whisky Academy and so forth like that, which I take through the brewery every time they come through, we often talk about the provenance. Obviously it’s quite important in the Tasmanian distilling industry that they use Tasmanian barley, so we get to talk about that a lot. I’ve spoken at the Grain Research Development Council before, so anything that we can do to have a beer with somebody and talk about it off the back of the luxurious position we are in in the alcohol manufacturing industry is where we work hard to tell the story.

Justin Fox: Listening to that, I think everyone understands that the provenance and terroir down here is really fantastic. The quality message coming from Tasmania has always been so strong, and that’s what’s so exciting about getting this malt to the mainland this year. The provenance piece, everyone’s gonna have a story that they want to tell, and that local part of the story is becoming more and more important to brewers, where they can engage in their communities both on the giving out the beer and in sports clubs, and the ingredients coming in from growers.

But I guess the difficult thing is we live in Australia where those climates are changing and moving, and that’s one of those hiccups we’re getting past with Signature, is that, whilst it was New South Wales last year when they were fighting for grain down here in Tassie, while this year we get to come down here and send that back up. And it’ll be a different story next year, but the quality piece, getting to take Tasmanian malt to the mainland this year is just so exciting.

Matt Kirkegaard: With Tasmania being celebrated so strongly this year, but last year New South Wales was the home of the barley for Signature Malt and Western Australia was very close this year, I asked Justin Fox what that means in terms of telling a story.

Justin Fox: That’s the inherent beauty of it. That’s why we’re not locking down to a specific spot. We really want to move with the seasons, it’s a wide brown land and we have to work together, so I guess the local nature of this product is that it’s inherently Australian and working with Joe White’s reach across Australia to find those pockets, find them early.

If the rainfalls coming in halfway through the season and we know that it’s gonna stand really well for a Signature Malt, then engaging with those farmers, getting them to put the extra effort in early, letting them know they’re gonna get the $50, $60 a ton over that, and that’s where we want Signature to get to. We want it to be part of enough of the landscape of craft beer that we can engage early and build it as the season moves and changes. And if the rainfall and the conditions aren’t right in Tassie, well the effort doesn’t have to be necessarily spent there, but the brewers will know that they’re still gonna get the malt they need.

Matt Kirkegaard: And from Brand Tasmania’s perspective?

Philippa Dawson: I think we’re very keen to partner on the Signature Malt for this year and build on what has been such a strong year. Yes, it may well move to another state in years to come, but I think it’s still the fact that we’re still gonna have barley grown here, that it’s still going to be a strong product.

It may not be the bumper crop, but I still think it’s a bit like New South Wales still has good barley, it’s just that it’s not the Signature Malt this year. And so it’s capitalizing on those opportunities when there are strong crops, but also recognizing that it’s still good quality all around Australia at all times, and that there’s still opportunities for both the barley growers but also the brewers and distillers as well.

Justin Fox: As it’s been mentioned before, there wasn’t really enough barley. We were shipping barley down to Tasmania to malt, and I think if the years continue, I’d be confident that it would perform again and it will be something, and it might even be that we have to do two models of it next year because people get attached to it. That’s where we can see it going.

It’d be fantastic if we can have all the Pilsner malt come out of here and maybe the Trad Ale Signature comes from somewhere else. The options are all open for us to use the best barley, and this is just a great chance to get what we all know is going to be a quality product, because the legacy is real. You ask Dave Bauld why people in Tasmania are proud of what they do, you can see it everywhere.

My wife and I had our honeymoon down here and we just didn’t have a bad experience in two weeks driving around. The coffee at the truck stop on the side of the thing was fantastic, and the people were all, everyone lives and breathes it down here. They’re really proud of what they do, and the food, and the quality of that produce and the service around it is really, really good.

Matt Kirkegaard: (outro music)

Well, that’s Signature Malt. With so much focus on hops and recently bold yeast characters in beer, malt doesn’t always get the focus that it deserves as an ingredient. That was why we were so pleased to work with Bintani, to try and tell a little bit more of the story of malt, and why a product such as Signature Malt came about, and why it is important to brewers.

If you’re a brewer and would like to find out a little more about Signature Malt and get it working for you and your brewery, contact Bintani.

I’d like to thank my guests, the three Daves, Bauld, Skipper and Macgill, as well as Brand Tasmania’s Pip Dawson and Bintani’s Justin Fox, for their time and expertise to share the story of malt and provenance. Hopefully you enjoyed learning a little bit more about the story of Signature Malt and it makes you think a little bit differently next time you’ve got a beer in your hand. Cheers.

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