The Power of the Pen…

We have experienced a resounding response to my last Newsletter, both customers and potential customers visiting the maltings, which did much to cheer up the dark months of January/February.

Also, my suggestion that Warminster Malt is now a lot more affordable (when put up against our competitors), might be part of the reason why we have gained more than 20 new customers over the last 2 months. So, we are much delighted about all this. More than that, our malt sales over the same period echo those recent reports in The Morning Advertiser: they have been quite a bit better than expected. If the year can continue as it has begun, I shall have no fears about facing our new bank manager (new manager, same bank) whose visit is now overdue.

“I tried to write something very wordy that explains how walking around Warminster Maltings made me feel but I couldn’t really… It makes me sad because there are so few places like it left.

I’m infinitely grateful to people like Robin Appel and everyone who’s kept it alive for over 150 years so that we can enjoy, as brewers and drinkers, the fruits of their labour”

High Spirits

The recent news that Scotch Whisky exports achieved 37% growth in 2022, has to be good news for English Whisky as well. From what I can see, the market for whisky seems to have no limits, either to the price that older vintages can command, as well as the global demand for “the water of life”!

Within our list of 20 plus new customers, there are two English distilleries planning to make whisky, and, interestingly, they are only a few miles apart from each other. Not only that, they are just a few miles away from two more of our distilling customers, both of whom are well established in the English Whisky market. It would be possible to visit all four of them within a day, although, as I understand it, only two of them are geared up to do formal tours. Once upon a time I used to say there is probably a Craft Brewery within 10 miles of most people, in a minute there could be a distillery as well!

This increase in the visibility of beer and whisky production all around the U.K. should come as no surprise. The over industrialisation of food and drink is beginning to get its “come uppance”! But it is more than that.

Across England, we grow the finest malting barley in the world. Instead of exporting this raw barley, or even exporting the barley as malt, it makes even more sense to add as much value as possible here at home and produce the final beverages for export instead. Of course, there is nothing new about this: that famous and now international beer style, India Pale Ale (IPA), was originally created in 18th century London. Designed as a beer that could survive the challenging sea voyage to India, it eventually became the making of a number of English breweries, including Bass, over the next 100 years, all supplying the export market to the Indian subcontinent.

So, as they say, what goes around, eventually comes around! What is more, guess where one of the biggest export opportunities for whisky is? You are right, it’s India, …again!

MaltingsFest 2023

April 20th – 22nd 2023

Warminster Maltings is once more the lead sponsor of the biggest beer festival in the south west, due to be held at its regular venue, Osborne Park, Newton Abbott, Devon. This event, organised by SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers, first began more than 20 years ago, when it was held inside Tuckers Maltings which sits alongside the park. Sadly, the maltings closed its doors 5 years ago, so the beer festival then had to resort to going under canvas. It used to be a great opportunity for us to meet our customers – on the first day, all the brewery principals, and their head brewers, were all in attendance. But that was not the case last year, when the event re-opened after 2 years of enforced absence. Looking back, perhaps this absenteeism should not have been a surprise: staff shortages, increased costs pitched against reduced sales, all prevented brewers from deserting their breweries, albeit their beers were all present and correct. So why do we continue as the lead sponsor?
MaltingsFest is a great opportunity for our customers to showcase their beers to a much wider audience than the regular week-to-week outlets. There is also a beer competition on Day 1, which awards Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates, and which every Brewer is very happy to receive, and then shouts about in order to promote sales. These are the reasons we sponsor this event, to ensure its continuity, which in turn, we hope, helps to sell more beer. However, we have suggested, now that the event is held entirely under canvas, that it might perhaps consider occasionally staging MaltingsFest at Warminster, where it could, once again, be in the vicinity of a working maltings. But the jury seems to be out on this. We will keep pressing.


Warminster Town Ladies FC did themselves, and us as their sponsors, incredibly proud last week when they became the CHAMPIONS OF WILTSHIRE!

An excellently played game against Royal Wootton Bassett finished 3-0 to our ladies. Congratulations to the team!

Wiltshire County FA Women’s Cup 2023 Winners


…the Force of Advertising.

Our latest advertising campaign has just gone ‘live’ (the Spring edition of the ‘SIBA Independent Brewer’ journal).

“Go West” – and yes, I will admit it has been partially influenced by the 1993 recording by The Pet Shop Boys – is designed to not only highlight our lonely status as the only Maltings in the west of the country, but, more importantly, that we are sat where the best barleys now come from. Thanks to climate change, the eastern counties, where all our competitors are based, is getting drier and drier, and it is impacting on the quality of the barley over there! A lot of the grains are getting leaner, which can compromise extract.

Of course, our competitors can reach out and buy more barley from the west, but for customers in the west, all this does is add more and more ‘food miles’ to their malt supply. So we hope those that put sustainability at the top of their agenda might begin to recognise this. I do not expect we at Warminster can help all of them, but we will do our best.

Please form an orderly queue.

Robin Appel