One year later than initially planned, Montana Craft Malt today celebrated the opening of its new 10,000 ton malthouse near Butte, Montana. In January 2017, agri-businessman Ron Ueland, who personally invested and developed the project, announced to build a new 10,000 ton malting facility to serve the local craft beer industry with malt from locally grown barley (inside.beer, 19.1.2017).
In 2018, soon after construction of the 30,000-square-foot facility started, Ueland died and his daughter Jennifer O’Brien took over as president of Montana Craft Malt and finished the project. “This project is enormous, and construction has taken almost two years, with extraordinary circumstances around every corner. The impossible was made possible through partnerships with public and private entities at the local, state, and federal levels,” O’Brien said during the inauguration of the plant, which was celebrated today together with Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock.
“This is a very important time for us, this week actually, is when we finally pivot from construction into operations,” O’Brien went on. “It's been a long time coming, the team couldn't be more excited and i could not be more proud of what we've accomplished.”
“It’s no secret that Montana’s craft beer industry is thriving, and the state’s growers continue to produce some of the highest quality grain in the world,” explained Governor Bullock. “The Montana Craft Malt facility will capitalize on both strengths to help the state’s breweries deliver products that are made in Montana from seed to a pint glass and elevate Montana grown products to an international level.”
The facility will also have the opportunity to export specialty malts internationally, specifically to Mexico. In January of last year, Governor Bullock met with executives from the Mexican Craft Brewers Association to sign an agreement to continue collaboration between the organization and Montana’s barley growers. Mexico is the largest importer of U.S. malt and industry groups estimate almost 70 percent of imported malt is grown in Montana. In 2017, U.S. malt exports to Mexico were valued at $242 million.
Montana Craft Malt starts now with seven employees now and hopes to have 15 within the year.