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“We’re At Plan C”: Coping with Malt Supply-Chain Disruptions

A lack of shipping containers in Europe has made it impossible for many North American brewers to get malts they rely on for some of their most important beers. It’s unclear when the situation will improve.

Kate Bernot Jul 13, 2021 - 10 min read

“We’re At Plan C”: Coping with Malt Supply-Chain Disruptions  Primary Image

Fresh malt being packaged at Bestmalz in Heidelberg, Germany. Photo: Courtesy Bestmalz

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In a year of supply-chain issues, brewers are facing another stumbling block: delays on shipments of imported European malts. From Country Malt Group’s Franco Belge Caramel Pilsen to Weyermann Pilsner, many brewers have not been able to get their hands on certain malts they use for some of their most important beers. Substitutions have become common as brewers do their best to keep these beers within their desired specs and flavor profiles.

The Brewers Association’s most recent World Harvest Report, published in The New Brewer in December, noted the potential for heat waves and drought to affect global malt supply. However, that’s not what’s causing this summer’s hiccups, says Jody Valenta, president and chief operating officer of Roadhouse Brewing in Jackson, Wyoming, and a member of the Brewers Association’s supply chain subcommittee.

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