IGGG welcomes Boortmalt statement…but questions brewing-distilling ratio

The Irish Grain Growers’ Group (IGGG) has welcomed a statement from Boortmalt in which the company said it would purchase malting barley “as per contracted requirements”.

In a statement to AgriLand, the IGGG said: “Having emailed Boortmalt requesting that it informs growers of the present situation with urgency, we welcome its statement.”

The Boortmalt statement, released this week, followed on from an incident at its Athy facility in late July, in which a steep used in the malting process partially collapsed, thereby reducing the production capacity of the plant.

We want to acknowledge the difficulty Boortmalt faces in light of the accident and were relieved like all others that there was no loss of life or injury.

A representative for Boortmalt told AgriLand earlier this week that the proportion of barley for brewing and distilling is 70% and 30% respectively – a ration that the IGGG took issue with.

“We believe this is a change to what growers signed up to last spring. There was no mention of this 70:30 divide with the document supplied by Boortmalt last spring and there were no terms and conditions attached with those documents,” said the IGGG.

“Early indications suggest a good proportion of the grain could be distilling grade this year and [Peter] Nallen, COO of Boortmalt, has said in the past that they will require a larger proportion of grain to be distilling grade into the future,” the group added.

Why put a limit on distilling grade at this juncture?

The IGGG also claimed that the new pricing structure is “failing growers”.

“We must also point out the new much-lauded pricing structure is failing growers once again with the current market indications. Will Boortmalt come with a strong offer this autumn as an incentive for 2020?” the group asked.

The IGGG concluded its statement by saying that “the biggest worry for growers at present is the weather, and the fact that the quality of the grain may begin to suffer”; it called on the company to be “lenient” with growers if quality began to fall off.