Tap the kegs, pass out those little plastic cups and let’s raise a salute. The malt masters at Rahr Corp. debuted their malt house and other new spaces to 650 neighbors and the local brewing community on Sept. 24. Rahr began the $68 million expansion project (which now makes it the world’s largest single-site malting facility) in April 2015 and completed it six months ahead of schedule.
“This project is focused on taking our quality, capabilities and service to an even higher level,” said William Rahr, president and chief executive officer of Rahr Corp., a family-owned business for the past 169 years. “We’re adding 28 full-time employees at our home base in Shakopee to make this growth possible and meet the needs of a thriving brewing and beverage industry.”
Rahr manufactures malt — a key component in beer — and distributes this and other ingredients to brewers and beverage makers worldwide, including nearly 90 percent of Minnesota’s 110 breweries, from Steel Toe Brewing to August Schell Brewing Co. About one-quarter of American-brewed beers contain Rahr malt, which moving forward will originate from the company’s new malt house, the focal point of the expansion.
At 115,000 square feet, the new malt house makes Rahr’s headquarters in Shakopee — located in the southwest Twin Cities of Minnesota — the largest single-site malting facility in the world. The expansion increases the annual malting capacity from 390,000 to 460,000 metric tons — enough to brew about 12 billion 12-ounce cans of light beer or 6 billion bottles of craft beer.
Additionally, the expansion includes a 20,000-square-foot research brewery and technical center that enable Rahr to test the performance of its products in a realistic brewery environment, as well as an 80,000-square-foot distribution and packaging facility. This facility is used primarily for warehousing and bagging by Brewers Supply Group, a Rahr Corporation subsidiary that supplies premium ingredients to brewers, winemakers, distillers and home fermentation retailers.
“Firestone Walker Brewing Co. has been partnered with Rahr Malting since 2001,” said Matt Brynildson, brewmaster at Firestone Walker Brewing. in Paso Robles Calif. “We have enjoyed a long and productive relationship through many years of growth and an ever-evolving beer landscape. Consistent, clean and good flavored malt is at the core of all good beer and Rahr has delivered world-class malt to us year in and year out. The talented and dedicated Rahr team has playing a key role in the success of our brewery.”
The grand opening of Rahr’s new facilities in Shakopee included facility tours and a brief program featuring remarks from William Rahr and Scott County Commissioner Mike Beard.
“Rahr Malting is a vital part of the local economy and the fabric of this community,” said Scott County Commissioner Mike Beard. “The company’s most recent investment in its Shakopee headquarters is a win-win for Rahr and Scott County well into the future.”