Insights on Organizing Malt Storage Plans

​If your brewery’s production is moving up, the time to start thinking of a malt silo for your base malt is now.

It’s very rare to hear of a brewery that doesn’t look at this option when it nears the 4,000 barrels-per​-year production mark. A few times that silos aren’t discussed is because space is limited near the brewhouse, the property is not owned by the brewery owner or the discussion of moving to a larger facility is in the works.

Otherwise, a huge savings is key to helping cut raw material costs.

For Jeremiah Johnson, adding a silo was a very early task when switching the former The Front Brewing in Great Falls, Montana to Johnson’s namesake. Along with plenty of room for bagged specialty malts, storage hasn’t been a problem.

​​”​For specialty malts, we have investigated various providers to obtain ​the ​best cost/quality combination​,” Johnson said​.

​Urban Artifact recent purchased a malt silo​.​ ​Chief of Brewing Operations, Bret Kollmann Baker said the purchase ​will ​save ​the Cincinnati brewery approximately 35% on ​its malt bill​.​

​”[It] is an insane amount of savings​,” he said​.

​The brewery will order approximately every two weeks​ and tries to order exactly how much grain needed​ to get ​through those two weeks.

​”​We eat a little bit on freight this way, but it keeps our inventory low​,” Baker said.

​The brewery has started leasing space in an off-site warehouse​ across the street​ from the facility and also invested in lots of pallet racking.

​In Columbus, Ohio, Seventh Son installed a dry malt silo and orders around 50,000 pounds every five weeks or so while specialty malt is generally ordered weekly as needed.

“I keep a spreadsheet to track silo depletion and try to time delivery to when there are only a couple thousand pounds left in there,” the brewery’s Collin Castore and Colin Vent said. “We tend to carry a few bags of each specialty in inventory on the off-chance we need to pivot the brew schedule last minute​.”

The silo has made everything so much easier​, they added​. ​The brewery’s previous small walk-in​ cooler​ was removed and the space it occupied now has pallet racks on which specialty malt is organized. The brewers can load a pallet with their specialty malt and forklift it over to the mill.

​Switching to a silo with a main base malt has affected recipe formulation too much. ​​Seventh Son found a base malt that sits between a ​Pilsner and ​Pale malt in color so that really covered ​the bases. There’s an occasional special release that’s a ​Munich base ​but in ​that​ case, ​they​ work entirely from bagged malt.

Urban Artifact​ has built ​its base recipes with the inevitable idea that ​it ​would get a silo one day,​ so changes were not needed.

Photo courtesy Jeremiah Johnson Brewing Co.

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