More craft brewers, not just in the U.S., but across the globe, means more ingredients, especially barley. Don’t forget that craft beer demands three to seven times more barley than non-craft. So, god bless the entrepreneurial farmers out there that have noticed this and started to chip and do something about it.
According to the CBC News, six farmers on Prince Edward Island in Canada have started test growing a hundred hectacres of malting barley during the last three summers. Growing barley in Canada isn’t some newsflash, which already does pretty well for itself, but that action comes from the Western coast.
From the CBC:
Agriculture Canada and the Atlantic Grains Council are both encouraging the local barley farmers.
[Research scientist Aaron] Mills has been helping find high-quality varieties that grow well on the Island and make good tasting beers.
Farmers are interested because malting barley is earning them $25 more a tonne than regular barley.
The general manager of the PEI Grain Elevator Corporation, Neil Campbell, says farmers would earn even more if there was somewhere closer to home to process the barley.
The eastern barley crop makes more sense beyond a couple farmers finding new revenue streams, too. Shipping from the west to the east costs a decent chunk of change, and a big part of the interest in craft beer is a local product made from local ingredients. So, growing barley in more areas and even opening up a local malt house (possibly on the way) is better for growers, brewers and customers.