Craft Malting – An Interview with Andrea from Valley Malt

Valley_Malt_colored1My investigation into the global malt supply chain started with an overall profile of the industry.  I looked at the global malting companies that supply the bulk of the world’s malt, and I examined the smaller companies that supply malt for the craft brewing industry.

Now I want to look at malthouses that are the opposite of the the huge global corporations, companies that are very small and very local.  To that end, I recently spoke with Andrea Stanley from Valley Malt, a craft malthouse in Massachusetts.  She was kind enough to share some of her thoughts about the malting industry and Valley Malt’s place in it. Continue reading

Malt Supply for Craft and Home Brewers

In my last article, I looked at the giant corporations of the malting world.  Now I’ll examine the mid-sized malting companies that supply today’s craft and home brewers, focusing on their local sourcing and global reach.


Between the repeal of prohibition and the 1980’s, the American brewing industry experienced a period of tremendous consolidation and homogenization.  By the mid 80’s, an industry that a century earlier had been regional and diverse had shrunk to only a few companies, with global reach but limited variety and questionable quality.  In 1983 – the low point of American brewing – the largest five American brewing companies controlled 92% of all beer production in the country.   Those top five were Anheuser-Busch (Now AB-Inbev), Miller and Coors (now MIiller-Coors), Pabst and Stroh (both now owned by Pabst, which was just last week sold to the Russian company Oasis), and Heileman (now City Brewing Company, makers of Sam Adams).   So the five largest beer companies from 1983 are now four much larger companies.

Active Breweries Prohibition to 1983

These brewing companies (I’ll refer to them as “BMC” from now on, short for “Bud-Miller-Coors”) all primarily make very pale lagers with high percentages of adjuncts in their Continue reading

Bulk Grain Delivered

I took part in the Glen Ridge Homebrewers Association‘s Spring bulk grain buy.  Everyone in the group orders a bag or two or three, and we all save money by paying for shipping by the pallet.

I ordered a bag of Maris Otter and split a bag of domestic 2-row with another member.  I should be good on base malt for six or seven batches.

I also bought some airtight pet food bins from Corrado’s to protect the grain from pests.

Time to brew!

Equipment and Supplies Order

Did a little Black Friday shopping from home (er, in-laws home).  Finally pulled together an order for two brews and a bunch of equipment I’ve been coveting.  Here’s my shopping list:

  • ingredients for my Ghostly Juror Oatmeal Stout recipe
  • ingredients for my IPA, with tentative name of Hoppy Gnome
  • a Barley Crusher grain mill
  • tubing and hardware for racking and aerating chilled wort out of the kettle into the fermenter
  • a digital thermometer (finally!)


Brewing supplies purchase

Any day that you buy supplies to make beer is a good day.

Today I ordered the ingredients for my “Gimp Biscuit.”  I decided to go with the slightly more British-y S-04 over the more neutral Nottingham yeast.

I also ordered supplies to make an ale version of a Bavarian dunkel.  I drank a ton of Dunkel when I was in Munich this summer and now consider myself well-acquainted with the nuances of the style.  Plus, I happen to have an extra packet of Fermentis Continue reading