Happy New Year

I want to begin by wishing you all a Very Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year.

I have little to report, at least little positive news, and so instead, I would like to list Warminster Maltings’:-

10 New Years Resolutions

We are in the process of creating, and hope to shortly add, a virtual tour of our Maltings to the website. We will let you know when it is released!

It will, quite deliberately, only be a very short film, about 4 minutes long, but it aims to capture, and attempts to explain, the whole process, start to finish. So, shortly, there will be a much safer alternative to the actual tour, for which we have become renowned. No more the need to negotiate those awkward steps, wet floors, low ceilings and sharp pieces of metal infrastructure which prod you in the ribs. Instead, you can now select a comfortable chair, grab a glass of beer, and quietly remind yourself on screen just how the brewing of that particular tipple most probably began.

1) We are going to get through this!

The pandemic is clearly set to run on, and its impact on our Maltings is now worse than that experienced last Spring. But our track record of success, coupled with the ever-widening raft of new opportunities which keep coming our way, underline the viability of our business. We hold a unique place in the supply chain, as well as being the only Maltings in the West Country.

2) As a team, we will work ever closer together

We have an amazing team at the Maltings, and their forthright willingness to get to grips with the Covid restrictions to our work practices has been professional, versatile, and always uncompromising. We have stayed safe throughout the pandemic, so far, and to their credit, everyone cannot wait to get properly back to work again.

3) We will continue to hone our malting skills

Over the last 15 months, we have continually researched and studied the practice of our predecessors, adding (or putting back) disciplines to our malting process which contribute to the quality of our malt. We now have three ‘additional’ procedures, and a fourth, pending some fabrication work, which, individually, and as appropriate, are quite definitely adding value, and raising the specification of our malts.

4) We will widen the range of malts we make and sell

Our very sophisticated, and very modern Veishaupt kiln allows us to make a whole kaleidoscope of different malts, including some particular bespoke formulations for individual customers (subject to batch size).

This bespoke market is a new dimension to our portfolio, and, based on feedback, is a potentially much bigger opportunity for us. Also malts with their individual provenance is in increasingly widening demand, and something we are uniquely able to deliver.

5) We will continue to improve and modify our website

We have been slowly learning how to “go forth and multiply” our sales, without knocking on doors, or attending events. Our website is currently our foremost Sales Platform, and we are fortunate to be able to manage this on a week-by-week basis with improvements, additional material and changes that reflect time and events.

The number of new enquiries we attract each week would appear to endorse this policy. All communications are dealt with very promptly, which has become another one of our hallmarks.

6) We are going to finish our Buildings Restoration programme

When I set out on this project nearly 20 years ago, I visualised two schedules of 10 years each, completing all major works by 13/02/2021, the anniversary of my arrival 13/02/2001. We comfortably completed Phase 1 before 2011, and back in March we were on schedule to also complete Phase 2 on time. Re-instating the pyramid kiln roofs to Kilns 3 and 4, will be the most outstanding project we have undertaken, and will transform the Maltings complex back to looking like it was for the first 60 years of its life.

These pyramid kiln roofs are significant because they are the signature architecture of a Victorian ‘floor Maltings’.

7) We will serve Teas in the Garden again

If we are stopped in the street in Warminster, the most frequently asked question is “will we go back to serving teas in the garden, like we used to?” The answer is a resounding ‘yes’!

Pat Whitty’s homemade scones and cakes are as famous as Betty’s Tea Rooms in Harrogate and served in our beautiful garden across the summer months, they are a very special treat we could never deny   the townsfolk of Warminster.

8) We will work towards a wider Visitor Attraction

As the custodian of the Maltings, I do feel it is my duty to share the ‘experience’, for want of a better word, with a wider public. The magnificent Grade 2* buildings, the history, and the very traditional process, which has all but completely disappeared from the industry, commands enormous interest.

This interest is partly fuelled by the revolution in brewing and distilling which has given rise to a Craft example of either a brewery or a distillery established near where you are. It is also driven by the increasing number of people who are looking for something different to the ‘National Trust’ experience with its overrun car parks, and over trodden gardens.

9) We will continue to sponsor ‘The Maltmen’

This is a wonderful example of an unforeseen consequence. When we undertook to sponsor Warminster Town Football Club, it was partly driven by staff interest, and partly driven by a desire to engage with the local community.

That the footballers should become ambassadors for Malt never ever occurred to us. It is a fantastic outcome, and that the club, under the chairmanship of Pete Russell, is such an outstanding community project, has all added up to a “win, win” for Warminster Maltings, quite apart from all the winning on the field.

10) When we get out of the current muddle, we will have a Big Party!

We need to be able to dream of this day. We will probably pitch a big marquee on our new car park.

There will be food, music and dancing, and lots and lots of beer. The date? I will have to come back to you on that.

Robin Appel