Poland: Experts predict Golden Age for malting industry

Brent Atthill, Managing Director at Atthill Consulting and former Global Director Malt, Hops and Adjunct at AB InBev sees a bright future ahead for the malting industry. In a well-respected speech during this year’s 10thWorld Barley Malt and Beer Conference (WBMBC), held this week in Warsaw, Poland, he was assessing the positive and negative impacts on the future of the malting industry.

While he clearly sees several threads to the industry, like a lower “share of throat” of beer; reduction in alcohol consumption; replacement of malt by sorghum, cassava and other raw materials especially in lower developed countries; higher price pressure on malt through increased buying power of brewing groups; the entry of big brewers into the craft beer segment; and many other factors more, he also sees huge opportunities to maltsters.

There is especially the higher inclusion rate of malt in beer due to ‘craft-like’ beer brands and the premiumisation of the beer industry; a growing malt demand from the distilling and food industry; a decreasing pressure on maltsters by fewer expected take-overs of breweries in the years to come; a consolidation of the malting industry (e.g. Boortmalt-Cargill, inside.beer, 20.12.2018), just to name a few.

As a summary, Atthill presented the Global Malt Capacity Utilization (GMCU) which is an estimation of the actual malt capacity utilization for currently operating malting facilities. Based on his studies as a consultant to the industry, he calculates a rising GMCU from 92.9% in 2018, to 93.2% in 2018 up to 94.8% in the next threeyears.

While Atthill’s view on the malting industry was clearly optimistic for the future, he asked the audience with more than 320 attendees about their opinion. Two thirds (67%) were in agreement with him and said they see a Golden Age ahead for the malting industry.

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