Axéréal Group, a French grain co-operative and one of France's biggest grain handlers, announced on Tuesday to add a fourth production facility at its production site in the Belgian port of Antwerp, making it the world’s largest malting site with 470,000 tonnes in annual capacity. Boortmalt, which is Axéréal’s malting arm, is headquartered in Antwerp and is the world’s fifth-largest commercial malting group. The Antwerp plant is mainly dedicated to malt export to breweries all over the world. The location right in the port of Antwerp makes large scale production of malt from domestic and imported barley possible. The company announced also to build a new Research & Development center in Antwerp to support the enlarged production.
Just 4 month ago, family-owned U.S. malting company Rahr Corp. inaugurated in Shakopee, Minnesota, a 460,000 tonnes malthouse, which took the lead as largest single-site malting facility in the world.
In addition to the enlargement of the Antwerp plant, Axéréal will build a new malthouse in Ethiopia, the company’s first outside of Europe. The group runs at the moment ten malthouses at full capacity in Belgium, U.K., France, Ireland, Hungary and Croatia.
Africa has proven to be a growing and promising market for European maltsters. Axéréal Group will leverage its expertise by working alongside its brewing customers to develop local barley and malt production in these countries.“Axéréal will initiate this by setting up a site in Ethiopia, where a malting plant with capacity of 60,000 tonnes will be operational before the end of 2018” according to Axéréal CEO Philippe de Raynal.