Scots malt is short
MALTSTERS have had to import 150,000 tonnes of barley this year because of the poor harvest in Scotland. And distillers may need 10% less next year next year.
The gloomy news was given by Institute of Brewing members last week at Crieff during judging of the Scottish malting barley competition.
Iain McLean, of Pauls Malt, Carnoustie, forecast that distilling demand was likely to fall by 5-10% next year due to a cyclical downturn in demand from distillers. "They have been producing at a high rate and some cutback is inevitable," he said.
Privately, maltsters were saying they had paid too much for the crop this season because quality was poor. But they forecast prices around £100/t next year, maintained by a steady demand from brewers and a commitment to the home crop.
"We want Scottish barley and we know we have to pay a decent premium to maintain grower interest," said Mr McLean. He suggested that IoB members would insist on farm assured grain for the 2000 harvest and next year would probably discount any supplies that were not farm assured.
Trevor Wright, of Simpsons Malt, Berwick, said he preferred to buy home grain but quality and yields had been very poor and he had been forced to import.