The burgeoning movement toward locally grown and produced food continues to expand on P.E.I. with the construction of the Island's first malt house. 

Iain MacInnes and Karine Gallant are renovating a historic building in Abrams Village that once served as a court house into a malting facility. The malting process turns raw grains into malt and the end result can be used for brewing beer.

Though malting has always interested them, they saw a need on the Island and decided to act.

MacInnes said they were inspired after "realizing there was actually a void here for breweries to have all of their product coming from a local area."

"If a local brewery is going to use local hops that's great, but their malt product still has to be shipped in," he said on CBC's Mainstreet.

Getting Started

MacInnes and Gallant won a Dragon's Den-like contest hosted by Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité (RDÉE), a national francophone economic development council.

MacInnes said the win gave them confidence in their idea and made them believe it could be a success. 

Dragon's contest

Karine Gallant and Iain MacInnes of Summerside won a Dragon's Den-like contest hosted by Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité. (RDEE)

"It was the first, that we felt this project would fly," he said. "It really gave us a lot of wind beneath the wings, to get this project rolling."

The contest victory also gave the pair $10,000 to get their idea off the ground. MacInnes said they will probably spend more than $60,000 on the whole project, though they will also be eligible for a $30,000 rebate from the province through the Growing Forward 2 Program.

Keeping it local

Trials on the malt are planned for March, using a facility in New Brunswick that can test the quality of the product so that they can perfect the process at the Abrams Village malt house.

malt stages

Iain MacInnes and Karine Gallant hope the malt they produce will provide regional breweries with one of the ingredients used to make beer. (www.hortonridgemalt.com)

He has also spoken with several breweries in Nova Scotia as well as Upstreet Craft Brewing and Barnone Brewery and Hop Farm about providing them with malt, and has received promising feedback about keeping the supply chain local. 

"This is going to be a really interesting thing for the region I think," MacInnes said.

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With files from Mainstreet