Baird’s Malt is to expand its Scottish production capacity by 26% to meet the growing demand from distillery customers in Scotland.

The UK company’s parent, Australian multinational GrainCorp, is to invest £51 million in its maltings at Arbroath and Inverness to meet strong Scotch whisky sector growth and consequent customer demand for malt.

Scotch is by far the UK’s biggest food and drink export category, with 2017 sales of £4.5 billion. The next biggest category is salmon at £727m.

The investment will see Bairds Malt add a 79,000 tonnes of annual malting capacity through an upgrade of the Arbroath facility and construction of a new state-of-the-art malting plant at Inverness. The expansion will bring Bairds total malt capacity to over 300,000 tonnes per year.

“The market for distilling malt in Scotland has been growing steadily since 2004 and it has a long-term focus due to global demand for aged whisky,” notes GrainCorp managing director and chief executive Mark Palmquist. “The number of distilleries in Scotland has increased by 29 over the past 15 years and large distillers are expanding production capacity.

“The new capacity will enable us to build on our strong relationships to remain a supplier of choice across the Scottish distilling industry. Both our Inverness and Arbroath facilities are strategically positioned close to key customers and with good barley supply.

“Given these factors, we expect to underpin the majority of the new capacity ahead of construction through new or extended long-term agreements.”
GrainCorp says the expansion, which will be financed through expansion from cash flow and existing debt facilities, is scheduled to complete in 2021.

● GrainCorp has appointed Darren Smith as president of its GrainCorp Malt division from the beginning of January 2019. He has been the division’s chief operating officer since 2014. His early career was spent in the Canadian malting industry before a move to Germany-based malt industry analyst RMI Analytics as managing partner in 2011.

Mr Smith succeeds Greg Friberg, who is retiring after 37 years in agribusiness, including 21 years in the malting industry. Mr Friberg will remain as an advisor for three months.