E-Malt.com News article: USA: Briess Malting increasing barley storage capacity in Ralston, Wyoming
Barley storage capacity is increasing at the Briess malt barley facility just outside of Ralston, Wyoming with two new 750,000 bushel bins to increase total onsite storage to 3.8 million bushels, Powell Tribune reported on June 30.
Once the two new bins are completed, the site will have four 750,000-bushel bins on top of their original eight 100,000-bushel bins.
Before it was owned by Briess, the eight original bins were completed in 1993 and the first two larger bins were completed in 2008.
“All eight can fit into one of these new bins,” said Rick Redd, Regional manager for Wyoming Barley Operations.
During harvest, Briess will dump out 5,000 truckloads of barley and load out 500-600 railcars, he said.
“These two (new) bins will reduce the number of railcars and that will be a big help,” Redd said.
Instead of 22 or 23 trains, they will only need to send out eight since more can be stored on-site and the rest can be shipped later to either Minneapolis for storage, or Wisconsin for malting and roasting, he said.
Part of the reason Briess is expanding their storage is to secure a consistent supply of high quality barley for malting and roasting malts for brewing. In addition to the 1.5 million bushels of new storage capacity at its barley operation in Ralston, they also added another roaster in Wisconsin.
In 2013, they were processing 3 million bushels of barley a year and now it is up to 5.8 million bushels.
“A rule of thumb is a bushel of malt barley will make a barrel of beer,” Redd said.
One barrel of beer is 31 gallons, so the additional 1.5 million bushels of storage in Ralston equates out to 46.5 million gallons of beer — or roughly 372 million pints of beer.
“However, most of it goes to craft brewing industry who uses almost two bushels per barrel of beer,” Redd said.
Craft brewing is growing at 18 percent per year now and if craft brewers use twice as much barley as a regular brewer it adds up pretty fast, he said.
“The craft brewing industry is very interested in the barley here because of the high quality and the stability of the crop,” Redd said. “Weather and elevation are factors because the weather is normally very stable here and we have a high acceptance rate for what we contract here.”
“Beer drinker tastes and styles have changed, you see more and more people sitting with one or two specialty beers — they want more flavor and different things instead of the same old same old all the time,” Redd said. “It is a different drinking style if you will. Now you go to the bars, especially craft brew pubs with 15 or 20 taps on them and everyone wants to try different ones.”
When Briess acquired the Ralston facility in 2013, they had 220 growers using the site and that number has grown because the program has expanded and more barley producers are hearing about Briess, Redd said. Their clients generally operate within a 220-mile radius, some as far as Bozeman, Montana, and even on down into Farson.
“Our barley program has grown,” Redd said.
Another reason for the construction is because a lot of their barley was shipped to Minneapolis for storage at a rental facility.
“Briess decided that rather than spend money on rent, to instead spend money here and we take better care of it here,” Redd said. “We have a drier climate and the bins have better aeration and temperature control.”
Once finished, the new bins will have better control of aeration and temperature control than the previously used rental bins in Minneapolis where the climate is more humid.
“It shows the commitment of the company to this area and they are here to stay,” Redd said when asked how the expansion will impact the region’s barley growers.
Construction of the new storage bins began around the end of March and needs to be ready for barley by the end of July so they can accept barley into the new bins, Redd said. The bins won’t be 100 percent completed by then, but they will be able to accept barley. Construction is set for completion in October.
“Harvest starts around the last week of July and runs to Labor Day, sometimes a week after, depending on the season,” Redd said.
“This is one expansion and I hope there is more to come — it is good for Wyoming and good for barley growers and good for everyone,” Redd said. “We appreciate all the growers’ hard efforts to produce a high quality product we need for our business.”
01 July, 2015