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California Brewer Links With Prairie Barley Growers

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A northern California brewery in need of low-protein barley for its craft beers has connected directly to Prairie barley growers to get it.

Saskatchewan-based Prairie Malt acted as the go-between for farmers and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. through the maltster’s “Farming With Your Brewer” program, majority owner Cargill said in a release.

“We knew that in asking growers to produce the quality of barley we need, they may have a lower yield,” Ken Grossman, owner of Sierra Nevada, said in the release.

“We worked with Prairie Malt to design a program where we could partner ahead of time to help account for some of the yield losses the grower might incur.”

Low-protein barley is a quality requirement for the company, which uses malt from the barley in craft beers such as its Pale Ale, Porter and Kellerweis.

Sierra Nevada, based at Chico, Calif., about 140 km north of Sacramento, wanted

Brewer Sierra Nevada wants partners that share its philosophy and values on environmental stewardship.

to deal with growers who had similar “philosophy and values” on environmental stewardship.

The brewer also wanted to “create a value proposition with growers in key production strategies that will bring about consistent supplies of low-protein barley,” Cargill said.

“The program connects growers to the whole brewing process, and gives them the chance to get to know the brewer,” said Chantelle Donahue, a barley supply chain manager with Prairie Malt.

Prairie Malt, which is coowned by Cargill and grain handler Viterra and uses over 293,000 tonnes of malting barley per year at Biggar, Sask., co-ordinates the program with growers.

Farmers who took part in Prairie Malt’s program visited Sierra Nevada’s brewery last month, getting the opportunity to brew with the specialty malt they supplied, Cargill said.

Sierra Nevada dates back to 1980, when it opened as one of the first microbreweries in the U. S.

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