Michigan’s growing craft-brewed beer industry is expected to benefit from Independent Barley & Malt Inc.’s proposed commercial-scale grain processing and malting facility in Litchfield, west of Jackson, after an agreement was announced today between IB&M and The Andersons Inc. of Maumee, Ohio to source, supply, deliver, and store malting barley for the operation.
IB&M says it is planning to break ground in April on a 47,500-ton-per-year malting operation utilizing more than over 2 million bushels of malting barley and other grains to supply the craft brewers and distillers, and specialty food manufacturers.
“It’s been over 40 years since the last large malt plant closed in Michigan,” says Hal Reed, director of development and board chair of IB&M. “Michigan farmers basically stopped growing malting barley. Today, Michigan’s malt industry is virtually non-existent, forcing craft brewers to import over $100 million per year from out-of-state or foreign suppliers.”
During the term of the agreement, The Andersons will be the exclusive supplier of malting barley to IB&M, sourced from existing supply chains, leveraging its existing operations, farmer network, and knowledge of identity-preserved contract supply chains. Over time, The Andersons will work with area farmers to establish a steady supply of malting barley within IB&M’s operating region, which will reduce delivery costs and provide a locally sourced product for craft beverage producers.
“The Andersons’ footprint, services, and expertise fit Independent Barley & Malt’s operation perfectly,” Reed says. “Working together with local farmers, we are investing to bring malting barley back to Michigan and produce a competitively priced, premium malt product for our craft customers.”
IB&M intends to utilize existing The Andersons’ operations for transportation and logistics, storage, and quality assurance services.