Investment boosts malting capacity by Denys Slee

Marketing Australian malt to the world - plant manager Peter Vawdrey at the new malting plant in Geelong - an initiative of Doosan Malting Aust Pty Ltd.

A strong overseas investment in the Australian malting industry has given a shot-in-the-arm to the regional economy of south-eastern Victoria and boosted Australia's export malt sales capacity. It also indicates that Australian links with Asian brewers are growing and healthy.

The new malting plant at Geelong is an initiative of the Doosan Group, one of Korea's largest. The $30 million investment in Australia was influenced by a number of factors including:

  • product quality with real potential for further improvement; surety of supply; and
  • the diverse range of malting barleys available because of Australia's research effort.

"Plant capacity will be 56,000 tonnes of malt and so this means we will be looking for about 70,000 tonnes of barley annually. Our parent company is the major malting company in Korea - a country where beer consumption has steadily increased over recent years," said Mervyn Finster, the Managing Director of Doosan Malting Aust. Pty Ltd.

The malt will be exported to Korea and various other markets.

Investments by growers through the GRDC are ensuring that Australian barley varieties have the quality characteristics of overseas competitors. An example of this is the development of the Waite Institute malting line Sloop (WI 2875), this year being put through its final commercial malting tests prior to a decision on whether it is to be released.

Australia is seen by Doosan as a reliable supplier of a quality product and one which can offer a number of options using malt produced from varieties including Schooner, ArapiJes and Franklin.

"Different breweries have different requirements and we need to be able to meet these," said Mr Finster.