Scotland’s first on-farm micro-maltings has started production at Demperston Farms near Auchtermuchty.
The Milne family, who grow barley, wheat and oats on 500 acres, have established Crafty Maltsters to diversify their business by taking some of the cereals they grow all the way through their state-of-the-art maltings for sale to brewers and distillers.
Crafty Maltsters director Alison Milne said: “We have big ambitions to showcase Scottish malt, demonstrate the opportunity for added value and kick-start the Scottish micro-maltings industry.
“We’re well on our way to doing that, creating a quality product that shows the field of origin. We are even working with the James Hutton Institute looking into how malt and nutrition can work together, as well as how we can improve growing conditions and influence flavour.”
It took the family five years to research the market then source and install equipment from Italy for the new 3000sq ft facility but, as soon as the first batch of malt was produced in October, distillers and brewers from as far afield as Patagonia and Sweden came knocking on their door.
“The Swedish shipment is about to go to a single malt distillery and we’re also shipping to the first single malt distillery in Patagonia,” said Alison.
“The system can process four tonnes at a time and malting takes a week. The target is to produce 200 tonnes through the plant every year.
“However, the biggest initial thing is to establish the brand and concept and hopefully involve other farm businesses as we go.”
Crops grown on the farm exclusively for malting include two varieties of bere from seed produced in Orkney, as well as Scottish heritage varieties.
Alison added: “We’re trying to see how much of a difference the varieties make to flavour, and we’re also looking at sustainability.”
Perth firm Edwards Engineering build the maltings and supplied grain elevators, ducting and bespoke spoutwork.