A new company has been set up to bring barley growers closer to brewers and distillers.

Muntons Malt Supply Chain is a collaborative business responsible for the delivery of long-term (five-year) barley contracts and the development of a new 24,000t storage complex at Bridlington, Yorkshire.

Grainfarmers, Grain Co, Centaur Grain and Muntons are involved in the scheme, together with some of the country’s largest brewers and distillers, including Carlsberg UK, InBev UK, Angus Dundee, Inver House Distillers, Joseph Holt, and Diageo.

Through the co-ops, growers can sign up to branded contracts, specific to individual end-user requirements. Prices were set at a fixed premium over feed, with quality bonuses and potential to lock into futures prices, said Guy Newsam of Muntons.

“The new intake facility – which opens next year – will allow growers to move all their barley to us at harvest, reducing their need to dry and store grain and cutting the risk of spoilage,” he said. “But the key thing is that it’s about making the supply chain work better.”

The English Farming and Food Partnership (EFFP) brokered the deal, which should give farmers more confidence about growing malting barley, EFFP’s Paul Rhodes said.

A malting barley forum would also be launched in November, to provide members with the chance to discuss the latest agronomy, he noted. “It’s a great opportunity to link farmers, processors and customers and reduce risk for farmers.”