Moving malt via the Port of Kings Lynn

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Bob King, Group Commercial Director at Crisp Malt, discusses how the Norfolk-founded business has used the Port of King’s Lynn and has grown from strength to strength servicing the worldwide malt industry.

Crisp Malt is the 10th largest malting company in the world, with malting plants in UK, Germany and Poland supplying high-quality malt to brewers and distillers across the globe. Crisp Malt is a privately owned business that will in 2020 celebrate 150 years of manufacturing malt. The business was founded at Great Ryburgh in Norfolk, growing to have malt houses across Norfolk before expanding in the 1980s with new plants at Ditchingham in Suffolk and the construction of their first plant at Portgordon, Buckie, Scotland, which supplies the Scotch whisky industry.

“Earlier this year, we were pleased to learn from ABP that they had committed substantial capital in modernising the silo with a view to offering Crisp Malt and other port users an alternative and improved loading proposition.” Bob King Group Commercial Director at Crisp Malt

Further expansion within the UK in the 1990s and 2000s through a mixture of construction and acquisition brought total capacity to 245,000mt of malt (produced from 300,00mt of malting barley). The acquisition in 2015 of malting plants in Hamburg in Germany and Bydgoszcz in Poland has increased production capacity to 435,000mt (540,000mt malting barley). Today, Crisp Malt’s portfolio of customers covers the whole spectrum of the brewing industry from craft brewers in more than 40 countries around the world through traditional English ale brewers and on to the international brewing groups. In the whisky industry, Crisp Malt is recognised as a significant and important supplier to distilleries large and small in Scotland and nowadays in many other countries where there are fast growing distilling industries. Malt is also an ingredient in many well-known food brands, for which Crisp Malt produces a range of products, not only barley malt but also using wheat, rye and oats.

As part of our extensive logistics operations, Crisp Malt have been a long-term user of the Port of Kings Lynn, moving malt and malting barley between our various production facilities and to a lesser degree direct to customers. In recent years activity in Kings Lynn had been focused at the silo in the Bentinck dock which had been operated for many years by Agrylink under a lease from ABP. When the lease was surrendered, the silo was closed and as a result Crisp Malt had to make other arrangements for shipments, particularly for malt produced at our largest plant, Great Ryburgh in Norfolk (20 miles from Kings Lynn). Earlier this year, we were pleased to learn from ABP that they had committed substantial capital in modernising the silo with a view to offering Crisp Malt and other port users an alternative and improved loading proposition. On the 10th and 11th October, Crisp Malt loaded our first vessel under the auspices of ABP. 3,000mt of Laureate malting barley collected from farms across Norfolk was tested for quality at the ABP on-site laboratory before being loaded on to the MV Kuper for shipment to the Crisp Malt plant in Hamburg, Germany. Going forward, this collaboration is likely to further help the regional economy grow.