Coopers maltings defies COVID-19 crisis

11 May, 2020 by Andy Young

The malting plant at Cooper’s Brewery is continuing its pattern of strong growth, with exports doubling in the past 12 month, despite the impact of COVID-19 on the global brewing sector.

The plant now sends around 35,000 tonnes of malt a year, with large quantities going to to food producers and brewers in South Korea, Thailand and Singapore. Smaller quantities are being sold to brewers and distillers across Northern and Southeast Asia.

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Coopers Maltings Manager, Dr Doug Stewart, explained why the plant was still being successful, despite coronavirus.

“Because a good proportion of our exports are going into the food trade, we are not meaningfully impacted by any slowdown experienced by brewers,” he said.

“In March this year, we exported 3100 tonnes, compared with less than 1000 tonnes in March 2019,” he said.

“In January we exported about 3700 tonnes, which is our best month for exports on record.”

Coopers uses about 15,000 tonnes a year in its beer production and other businesses, with smaller volumes sold to other Australian brewers and food producers, so 35,000 tonnes a year of exports represents more than half of the Coopers maltings capacity.

“One of our key selling points for overseas customers is the quality of the malt we produce, which is a result of high quality barley sourced from South Australian farmers and our state-of-the-art equipment,” Dr Stewart said.

“However our plant is also flexible enough to allow us to produce single origin malts which are increasingly popular among Australian craft brewers and distillers.

“The profile achieved by being named joint Maltster of the Year 2019 at the World Barley, Malt and Beer Conference in Warsaw last year certainly helped raised our profile, especially in the Asia Pacific region.”

Dr Stewart said early indications were that this year’s barley crop in South Australia would be excellent, which would help maintain the quality of the malt that was produced.