The largest Australian owned brewer, Coopers, has opened a $65 million malting plant at its Regency Park brewery in Adelaide, a move that is designed to underpin the family-owned company’s long-term future.
The 13,000 square metre plant 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 malt a year in its operations, with the balance sold to a range of domestic and export customers.
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.
The building was constructed by South Australian building firm Ahrens Group, with the malting equipment 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,” Dr Cooper 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.
The first beer brewed from malt from the new plant is expected to be in hotels and bottle shops before Christmas.