USA: Great Western Malting completes 120% plant expansion

Great Western Malting (GWM), the US arm of Australian agribusiness GrainCorp, has completed an expansion at its Pocatello/Idaho plant, which increases capacity from 100.000 metric tons to 220.000 metric tons of processed barley (approx. 176.000 mt of malt). On Wednesday, GWM President, Mike O'Toole and Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad officially inaugurated the enlarged plant. When construction work for the expansion of the 36 year old malting site started in the fall of 2015 the company said it would invest $75 million but a recent report of Local News 8 talks of costs of roughly $100 million.

The workforce will be increased from 32 employees to 44, which includes eight malt operators, one malster and one employee for the lab, plant mechanics, and logistics respectively. The full-time, permanent positions will average $22.84 per hour, plus employer-assisted medical benefits.

When presenting the project in May 2015, Greg Friberg, Chief Executive Officer and President of GrainCorp Malt since September 2013 said: “Building our capacity at Pocatello makes sense on a number of levels. Idaho is one of the most reliable sources of quality malting barley in North America and Great Western Malting has developed very close relationships with Idaho malting barley growers over 30 years. Freight and utility costs are competitive and the plant is well located to key target markets."

GWM was founded in 1934 following the repeal of Prohibition in the 1930s.  It is headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, where it is also operating a 96.000 malt plant and a Malt Innovation Center, Great Western’s own nanobrewery. The Vancouver plant has put its focus over the last years on the growing craft beer sector and is also supplying the majority of the US craft breweries with malt through its own subsidiary Country Malt Group. The Pocatello plant supplies mainly the major national brewing groups with standard malts.

Since 2009, the company is part of GrainCorp, an Australian based agribusiness and food-ingredients processor, with operations that span four continents. Earlier this year GrainCorp Malt disposed of its German business, which it bought 6 years before (, 16.5.2017). GWM is the fourth largest malting group in the United States behind Malteurop, Rahr and Cargill.

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