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Coopers New Malting Plant Opens

Coopers Brewery has opened its long-awaited malting plant adjoining the Regency Park brewery. The $65 million investment will provide malt for Coopers, as well as local and overseas customers. Malt quality is a major motivation for Coopers to produce their own malt, in addition to a long-term income stream from selling quality malted barley. Coopers themselves will use less than a third of total malt produced at the plant.

Watch the following video for a better view of the project and more facts are included in the press release below.

 

 

Coopers Opens $65 million Malting Plant

The largest Australian owned brewer, Coopers, has opened a $65 million malting plant at its Regency Park brewery in Adelaide, a move which will help to underpin the family-owned company’s long-term future.

The 13,000 sq m plant, considered the most technically advanced in the world, was officially opened today by His Excellency, the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia.

The project represents the largest single investment in Coopers’ 155 year history, eclipsing the $40 million cost of the Regency Park brewery in 2001. The maltings is entirely self-funded and will create an additional eight jobs.

Coopers Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper, said that at full capacity, the maltings would produce around 54,000 tonnes of malt a year and give Coopers full control over an important raw material.

Coopers will use approximately 17,000 tonnes of the 54,000 tonnes of malt a year in its operations, with the balance sold to a range of domestic and export customers. This includes independent brewers looking for reliable malt supplies.

Malt is a key ingredient in the production of beer and extracts of malt are widely used by food manufacturers. It is produced by germinating and processing barley, enabling specific sugars and enzymes to be accessed.

“South Australian farmers are recognised as producing some of the best malting barley in the world and we will be looking to establish strong relationships with them into the future,” Dr Cooper said.

Dr Cooper said particular care and attention had been given to the aesthetics of the building, which was constructed by South Australian building firm Ahrens Group, while the malting equipment had been sourced from the world’s leading malting and milling technology provider, Buhler, headquartered in Switzerland.

“Some of the innovations we have incorporated include full stainless-steel construction, enclosed conveyors, together with advanced process control and monitoring,” he said.

“In terms of water usage, process control and automation, this is the most advanced maltings in the world.”

Dr Cooper said the water used in production came from saline aquifers beneath the brewery, which was desalinated on site. Power is mostly drawn from Coopers’ on-site cogeneration plant, which also provides recovered heat for the kiln.

The new plant marks a return to the maltings business for Coopers.

Between 1988 and 2002, Coopers was a majority shareholder of Adelaide Maltings until it was sold to AusBulk to help pay down debt incurred by Coopers’ move from its old Leabrook brewery to Regency Park.

“When we sold to AusBulk, it was with the intent of eventually getting back into that business,” Dr Cooper said.

The first beer brewed from malt from the new plant is expected to be in hotels and bottle shops before Christmas.

Key facts:

Size: 13,000 sq m

Location: Southeast corner of Coopers brewery at Regency Park in Adelaide.

Major Equipment:

  • 25 barley, malt and processing silos
  • Three steeping vessels (each 60 tonne capacity)
  • Four germination vessels
  • Kiln vessel
  • Overhead gallery connecting maltings to the brewery

Capacity: Approximately 54,000 tonnes of malt a year (180 tonnes per batch).

Construction: South Australian construction firm Ahrens Group.

Equipment: Buhler, headquarter in Switzerland, the world’s leading technology provider of malting and milling equipment.

Cost: $65 million, self-funded by Coopers.

Water use: 4000 litres per tonne of malt.

Water source: Underground saline aquifer, with water desalinated on-site .

New Jobs: Eight.

Barley: Sourced mainly from South Australian barley farmers. Principal varieties of barley used are Commander and Compass.

Malting Process

  • Barley received from farmers, checked, graded, cleaned, dried and stored in grain silos.
  • Day 1 – 180 tonnes of barley (3 batches of 60 tonnes each) “steeped” (immersed in water and aerated) for a day, raising moisture levels in the grain from 10% to 40%, stimulating germination.
  • Days 2-5 – Grain moved from steeping vessel to germination chamber to enable the germination process to take place under strictly controlled conditions. Grain is continually turned to avoid “felting” as roots appear. During this period, the internal structure of the grain is transformed by biological processes to allow the carbohydrate in the grain to become available for hydrolysis during the brewing process.
  • Day 6 – The germinated grain is kiln-dried to reduce water content to less than 5% and stop germination. Roots are removed (deculmed) and the malted barley cleaned and tested.
  • Malted barley stored for future use.

Written by

Rick Besserdin is a home brewer and journalist, who specialises in writing about the diverse areas of beer, brewing, and technical automotive.

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