Spring barley variety Odyssey has been fully approved for both the brewing and distilling markets to give growers greater flexibility in marketing.

The Limagrain variety joins Concerto, also from the same stable, as the only two spring barley varieties that are approved for both markets.

Barley varieties often make the HGCA Recommended List with provisional approval by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD), but require further testing to prove their credentials for either or both end uses.

The full approval for Odyssey will be welcome news for spring barley growers, who can choose another variety that will allow them to take advantage of both markets.

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Senior barley breeder at Limagrain, Mark Glew, says that it offers a 6% yield increase over Concerto and has good agronomic and quality characteristics – particularly its score of nine for mildew resistance and a specific weight of 67.7kg/hl.

“Growers have already demonstrated their commitment to the variety, and its attributes make it appealing across both markets,” said Mr Glew.

Both Odyssey and Concerto contain a gene that means they don’t produce glycosidic nitrile (non-GN) making them suitable for distilling.

“In Scotland, this is a must as the industry is geared towards distilling, but in England buyers want more flexibility.

“The distilling market is growing and the brewing is not, therefore non-GN varieties are becoming a more important consideration, so this is significant news for the sector,” added Mr Glew.