The Malteurop Group is a leader in the malt industry, so we definitely had to stop by and meet their American counterparts (Malteurop North America) at the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America (CBC) in Washington, D.C. Malteurop has developed an original concept as the market integrator of the barley-malt-beer value chain. Their mission? Commit to supporting brewers in their growth, guarantee the security and permanence of their supply chain, manage the physical and financial risks involved in the business and optimize the total cost of the value chain.
Malteurop’s role as integrator begins with the validation of a new variety of malting barley and continues up to the final delivery of the malt to the brewery. Malteurop’s strategic objective is to enable its customers to optimize the total cost of ownership of the supply chain of malt to the brewery. To learn more, we sat down with Amy Germershausen of Malteurop North America at the CBC.
Craft Brewing Business (CBB): Thanks for taking the time, Amy. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about Malteurop North America.
Germershausen: Malteurop North America, we are an American company that’s based in Milwaukee. We have four malt houses in North America — Winnipeg, Manitoba; Great Falls, Mont.; Winona, Minn.; and Milwaukee, Wis., which is our headquarters. Ownership is a group of French wheat and barley farmers. We have sister companies in all the major barley growing areas. We process malt, so we buy barley, depending on where our plants are located — North Dakota, Montana, Colorado and the Canadian prairies. Then process that into malt, which we sell to breweries.
CBB: What should a craft brewery consider when buying their malt and deciding on the right distributor?
Germershausen: They should look for consistency. A lot of craft brewers are looking for local and most of our customers are located close to the malt houses. We do have some national accounts. We ship nationally, but most of our focus is on the brewers that are close to the malt — especially in craft breweries.
CBB: Do you see any big trends right now in the barley and malting industry?
Germershausen: Yeah. We like the IPA trends because generally to get a nicely balanced IPA, you have to balance the bitterness with the malty sweetness. So we like that trend. We like some of the session beers because of the lower ABV because that allows more of the malt flavor to shine through. We like a really crisp, fresh lager because then you can really taste the maltiness.
CBB: Who are some of your customers?
Germershausen: Probably 80 percent of our business goes to the commercial breweries. Then we serve and have footprints in each of the tiers. We ship all the way down to the very small breweries, but that’s very locally concentrated. We do breweries that have 700 barrels (bbls) a year up to a million bbls a year.
CBB: Why should a craft brewery choose Malteurop North America?
Germershausen: It depends on where you are located. It all boils down to logistics. If you’re looking for pricing, quality and consistency, we have some of the best automation systems in the industry. We have highly consistent products. We just supply base malts, so we focus on that niche. We don’t have a lot of other products, so in a way, it’s a bit of limitation to smaller breweries, but when they get to a certain size and start looking for different attributes for a big brewery – consistency, logistics, shipping – that’s the niche where we really excel.