Craft Malting Opportunities discussed for Gippsland
Craft brewing is a growth industry in Australia, and Gippsland is playing a part in that growth with the region currently home to 13 microbreweries, all producing varieties and ranges with their own unique characteristics, ingredients and flair.
Gippsland’s Smart Specialisation Strategy has identified that craft malting could support more regional innovation, contributing to Gippsland becoming more competitive locally, nationally and globally.
This week, a group of engaged stakeholders gathered for a workshop discussion in Orbost at Sailors Grave Brewing, a craft brewing brand that has been steadily making a name for itself both in Australia and overseas for its unique, small run beers connected with local ingredients that have been both harvested and foraged.
Presented in collaboration with the Latrobe Valley Authority and Food & Fibre Gippsland, the workshop had representation from local, state and federal government, growers, seed specialists, industry and community.
The inspiration and the ideas flowed whilst sitting amongst the beer barrels in the brewery, with conversations covering the many and varied aspects of what a craft malting operation would and should look like, and the need to aim to be a premium, sought after product.
With three of the region’s brewers attending the workshop, there was a ready source of knowledge to draw from in terms of understanding how a craft malting facility in Gippsland would benefit their businesses as well as the industry as a whole, and what they would be looking for in terms of batch size, qualitytraceability and variety.
When discussion shifted to the bigger picture of what this could offer to the region, there was enthusiastic agreement that as a new industry, craft malting in Gippsland could form part of an innovative industry and business that could create employment opportunities and stimulate local economies.
“There is definitely demand for a premium local product to complete the cycle of brewing a beer that is 100% Gippsland – using Gippsland water, Gippsland barley, Gippsland hops – it would truly be a beer that is full of Gippsland goodness, created by Gippslanders”
One of the many next steps for the Craft Malting Innovation Group is to further research how some of the established leading craft malters are producing a premium product, and from there, understand the expertise and experience needed to replicate a successful operation in a (yet to be determined ) Gippsland location.
The Innovation Group will meet again in the new year.