The barley haul came from Restonguet Barton and will be used to brew a million pints of St Austell Brewery beer over the coming year, for Cornish beer fans across the UK. In total, almost 900 acres of Cornish farm land has been cultivated to grow Maris Otter exclusively for St Austell Brewery, which is anticipated could yield up to 2,300 tonnes of barley. Early indications suggest that 2019 may well be one of the best harvests yet with both yield and quality looking excellent, which is good news for both farmer and brewer.
St Austell Brewery is the largest brewer in the world using exclusively Maris Otter barley in every beer that it brews. It’s a legendary heritage barley variety that has stood the test of time since the variety was first bred at the Plant Breeding Institute, Maris Lane, Cambridge way back in 1965. Modern barley varieties come and go but Maris Otter remains the brewer’s choice and is often used as the base malt for traditional English Bitter beers. The popular grain is grown exclusively in the UK and has a low nitrogen content and high extract, producing a rich malty flavour and exceptional beer clarity.
Convinced by the superior brewing quality of Maris Otter barley St Austell Brewery’s Brewing Director, Roger Ryman, helped to set up the Cornwall Maris Otter Partnership in 2002. The aim was to reintroduce the variety as a staple crop in the county and ensure a ready supply for the brewery.
The barley now has farm suppliers across Cornwall and the partnership is one of company’s key initiatives in supporting the local economy and cutting transport mileage. The brewery’s commitment to local sourcing was instrumental to the company receiving a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development in 2018.
Roger Ryman said: “Everything starts with the barley. To brew Tribute, we need the very best Cornish Maris Otter barley and we source it from our trusted community of growers based across the county. It’s a great time of year for a brewer as we can get out into the fields, speak to the farmers and see where it all begins.”
Jonathan Arnold, from grain merchant Robin Appel Ltd, said; “Despite a dry spring, it's great to see the Maris Otter harvest coming in, it continues to play a significant role in the brewing of a whole range of wonderful beers across the world. We’re delighted to work in partnership with St Austell Brewery to help play our part in the making of Cornwall’s favourite pint - Tribute.”
In June, St Austell Brewery announced that it had brewed and sold 150,000 brewers’ barrels of its own brand beers in the last 365 days - equivalent to 43.2 million pints. It’s the first time this production milestone has ever been reached in the family-owned company’s 168-year