I was inspired this week by our customer, Chris Lohring from Notch Session. He posted on his blog about the death of the seasonal beer and how it may be easier find to a brewery's summer seasonal in April rather than July or harvest ale in July instead of October. Take a moment to read his post. I am not one for controversy but I do like it when it brings about awareness and change, and since I wrote that Chris inspired me, I must elaborate on that.
Christian and I get lots of phone calls and emails from other people around the country and world who want to micro-malt. Most have questions about our process, equipment, and want to know if it is a viable business model. We do our best to help move this micro-malting movement along and hope that others follow in our footsteps and many malthouses pop up in the coming decade. Some of these folks tell us that they are seriously considering buying a "complete system" from some company in China. For $70,000 they can get a turnkey micro-malthouse. Firstly, I find this hard to believe and am skeptical but secondly, I take issue with it.
So here is my controversial statement, "Why would a company that is going into business to promote a locally produced product buy their equipment from China?"
Probably because it is cheep and easy. OK? Not ok. When you as a business are promoting an ideal, to buy locally and support local business then you should go the extra mile to do the same. Otherwise we are just marketing an image and not living that ideal. If you are thinking of becoming a maltster, please consider having a local machine shop or welder build your equipment. To date every other micro-malter out there that we know of, has built their own equipment using local fabricators. Each of our systems are different but they all work and that is what makes this new industry more interesting. Colorado Malting Company has retrofitted old dairy equipment themselves. Riverbend Malting built their own kiln, using a local engineering company. Maltarie Forntenac has used local fabricators for all of their equipment. Lance at Rebel Malting also welds and designs all of his equipment.
I would like to thank all of our amazing customers who buy our malt.