Stuart Whytcross and Brad Woolner have been ensuring craft brewers and distillers get the highest standard of malt, which helps create some of the great flavours many people enjoy after a hard day’s work, since 2013.
After some experimentation with malts from grains sourced locally in the Barellan region, the duo established Voyager Craft Malt.
The malt was originally processed in Melbourne, but for more than two-and-a-half years now the men have operated their own malt house to great effect.
“We originally sent our barley to Melbourne to be malted under contract,” Stuart said.
“There was no margin in it due to the excessive freight, but we were able to assess the feasibility of the business and source brewers interested in single origin malts.
“Towards the end of 2014, we began the process of acquiring our own malting equipment to give us total control over all aspects of our malts.”
Locals to the Barellan area, Stuart and Brad grew up on neighbouring farms, both passionate about the land.
To make sure the business was going to be feasible, they had to do a lot of research.
“Traditionally malting is done on a much larger scale,” Stuart said.
“The equipment did not exist at the time to produce the types of malts we wanted to in such a small scale.
“We had to develop the equipment ourselves, which took a lot of research and development.
“As a qualified metalwork and engineering teacher, I was able to develop prototype equipment on a scale we could use.”
Voyager Craft Malt house currently creates 350 tonne per year, but with the help of a government grant, they are set to expand that to 1000t mid-year.
“Dad and I grow our own schooner barley for the malt house and also our rye, but we also have some varieties contracted to ensure continuous supply for brewers,” Stuart said.
“Last year we took in 500t of malt barley in different varieties. It is lower yield in both the paddock and the malt house, but has a unique flavour and mouthfeel that compliments many of the hop forward craft beer styles.”