Craft beer boom spurs demand for close-to-home barley malt

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

GERMANTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — The thirst for craft beer and whiskey as well as locally grown food and drink is creating a new market for smaller-scale regional malt houses — and a new high-value crop for grain farmers.

The U.S. Brewers Association says the number of craft malting companies has grown from fewer than five in 2010 to 36 today, with about 50 more in the works.

That goes hand-in-hand with a rise in craft breweries over the same period, from 1,754 to 3,418.

New York feeds that trend with a 2012 state law that requires farm breweries to use set proportions of state-grown ingredients. The New York State Brewers Association says about a dozen small malt houses have opened in the past three years to malt barley for some 200 breweries.