Thunder Bay·Video

Thunder Bay barley market being pitched to local farmers

For the first time, barley from Thunder Bay is being unloaded at Canada Malting to get turned into brewer's malt.

'There's money to be made here,' Canada Malting plant manager says

Canada Malting in Thunder Bay produces the barley for many breweries, both big and small. (Canada Malting Company)
Talk about taking the local food movement to the next level! We hear how area farmers are now sending their barley to a local malting facility that in turn winds up in Sleeping Giant Beer. 5:23
For the first time, barley from Thunder Bay is being unloaded at Canada Malting to get turned into brewer's malt.

The locally made malt will also be used by Sleeping Giant Brewery.

Canada Malting plant manager Jim Desaulniers said lots of research was done to encourage farmers to grow barley — including help from the agricultural research station.

Desaulniers says his goal is to have 20,000 metric tonnes of locally grown barley come through the plant.

"I'm hoping that, with this first transaction that we're into right now — and once that first farmer gets paid — the news spreads and some of the other farmers realize ... there's money to be made here."

Malt from Thunder Bay is already used by more than 100 other breweries, so it only makes sense to have the local brewery using local products, Desaulniers said.

An incentive for farmers?

Desaulniers says he will buy local barley, eliminating a lot of risk for local farmers.

"I'm looking to take that second risk away from them. I can buy it. So, all they really have to do is grow it," he said.

"I use about 160,000 metric tonnes here annually, and my ultimate goal is to get up to 20,000 tonnes locally."

That goal can "translate into, depending on the price of barley, anywhere from $4 to $6 million" for local farmers, he noted.

"I'm hoping that's an incentive for them. I can take away the risk of a buyer and, through the research centres, we can get the quality and the yields up so everybody wins."

Desaulniers said Canada Malting makes enough malt for about 2.8 billion bottles of beer annually.

"I go all over the eastern seaboard," he said. "If you are east of the Mississippi, chances are, you're drinking Thunder Bay malt."

Watch the video

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