Skagit Valley Malting Expansion Plan
Skagit has started the year off strong, with five single vessel malting machines in full production. All five machines are running 24/7, but we won't be stopping there. Our operations team has begun fabricating machines six and seven and they are expected to be up and running by the beginning of Spring. By the end of Summer we plan on installing two more machines for a total of nine Single Vessel Malting machines. In just over a year we are planning to have tripled our production of Skagit malt from 27 tons a week to over 80 tons every 8-10 days.
80 tons of malt produced every 8-10 days
Building our machines takes roughly eight months to source material, machine parts and finally fabricate. The majority of this work and the assembly is done by our own operations team. Just last year we received 24 patents on this technology, thus securing its role as a truly differentiated machine in craft malt for years and years to come. To learn more about our Single Vessel Malting Machines click here.
Skagit isn't like other malting facilities. For starters, every morning we drive past the very fields that grow the barley in your beer. We watch them grow green, turn gold then, finally, we see them being loaded in our silos. All of this activity happens within a 12-mile radius of our malt house. At Skagit we value our farmers, that is why we partner with them to grow our barley and that is why we source 99% of our raw goods from the valley.
Another big difference is that we use a single vessel to complete the entire malting process. Traditionally, malt was produced through floor malting, a craft in and of itself, but also a labor and space intensive process, furthermore it is a difficult venture to scale. When our engineers began developing this technology they decided to take on malting science with a whole different approach, one that was progressive and would redefine what malt can be.
We don't choose barley because of its ability to conform to our malt house we pick barley for its ability to contribute new flavors never before experienced in craft beer and whisky.
Our machines and the number of machines we have gives us an unrivaled ability to explore different varieties of barley and malt styles. We currently malt five varieties of barley and in addition we malt wheat and triticale, with more grains on the way. On any given day we have five machines malting five different varieties of barley with the potential of dozens of different styles. This has been our goal from the very beginning:
Build a malt house around the needs of the grain, not a malt house that forces grain to conform to a strict process.
The first step in our malting process is to load 20,000 pounds of raw grain into the vessel, we begin steeping the grain to bring the moisture level up in the seed, kick starting germination. After germination we start the kilning process, the heat stops germination but also develops the flavor and color of the malt. All of this happens in one vessel - in goes raw grain, out comes clean finished malt.
There are many resource based benefits to malting grain this way. First, we have a smaller footprint, eventually we will be able to fit nine machines into a single building with a malting capacity of over 80 tons. Second, it takes less labor because of the machine's ability to precisely malt grain consistently with minimal human intervention. During germination the grain needs to be raked in order to release CO2, control temperature, and prevent rootlets from clumping and wrapping around the grain. At Skagit our machinery eliminates all of this labor, allowing the technology to control the malting process. Lastly, it takes less resources - we use less water during steeping and we have minimal loss of grain due to damage and spillage.
Another key benefit to a single vessel malting facility is the impact it has on the grain. Through our process we damage kernels less, have cleaner grain and most importantly to us we don't have to blend batches of malt to meet specification. We precisely control and monitor every step of our malting process, which means we have high repeatability and consistency with our malt.
We believe in Single Vessel Malting technology, it has allowed us to malt local grains while continually growing and supporting our farmers. Join us on this exploration of local craft malt!