Thursday 4 November 2010

Trade talk at Munton's Maltings

Today I went to a trade day organised by the the BFBi at Munton's Maltings in Stowmarket. 

The place was huge but by following the directions of staff placed strategically every five paces I managed to get to where I was meant to be.  We were treated to a range of talks, mainly on malt and barley, with a bit of hops thrown in for good measure. The important points seemed to be that malt's going up in price but hops should be about the same.

I found some of the side comments more interesting though: like the fact that Munton's is mainly owned by the Wells family of Charles Wells fame, and that Styrian golding hops Bobek and Celeia are now going to be called Styrian golding B and Styrian golding C.  But then I'm a beer nerd not a hard nosed business man. 

We got taken on a tour too which was more interesting than I'd expected. Having sat through many an hour of barley lectures, on such fascinating topics as 'does gibberellic acid diffuse from the scutellum or is it transported through the aleurone?' I felt I'd already heard more than I'd ever want to about barley, but Muntons being maltsters and malt extract producers brought a new twist. Germinating barley is one thing but seeing the machines where malteser cores are made is another.

A germination vessel. Yup, it's barley.

A band drier. This is where maltesers come from. 

I also manged to meet up with a bloke from Murphy's I've only know before though Jim's beer kit and someone I was at Heriot-Watt with that's now working at Harvistoun brewery. Which was nice. All in all it was a very enjoyable day and the CPD* I manged to accumulate was the best yet. 

*CPD is know by some as Continuing Professional Development which certain professional bodies insist must be accumulated by attending a set number of hours each year at trade talks and shows. Taking my lead from a dental hygienist friend of mine I've learnt that the important thing at such events is in fact how much you can stuff a carrier bag full of freebies. I got two mugs, a memory stick, a bottle of beer and a loaf of beer bread amongst other goodies this time, and a packet of maltesers. 

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