We’re On The Telly, Again!

“A Cotswold Farmshop”, a new series on Channel 4, on Monday nights at 8 o’clock, began screening on Monday August 7th. There are 6 episodes in all, and we appear in the second quarter of the 6th and final instalment, and so, (provided the August Bank Holiday has not interfered with the schedule), we should feature on the evening of Monday 11th September, at 8 o’clock. Or you can watch us on 4’s catch up

The programme seeks to promote the superior quality of traditional and artisan foods and beverages, which, in the case of this particular outlet, are mostly sourced from very local producers just a few miles away from the Service Centre. Our contribution is the supply of malt to Craft Breweries in the immediate area, including Stroud Brewery, which makes its appearance immediately after us.

I have long lost count of the number of times acquaintances have walked up to me and said, “I saw you on the television the other night”. This is not because I, or Warminster Maltings, have become ‘TV personalities’, not at all! It is all about a single episode of “Great British Railway Journeys” hosted by Michael Portillo, that we filmed with him many moons ago. It seems it gets repeated and repeated, albeit on what I refer to as the ancillary TV Channels. We have done others: “Countryfile” with Adam Henson, “Antiques Road Trip” and “Move to the Countryside”, but none of these get to re-emerge like “…Railway Journeys”.

Warminster Maltings - Traditional English Floor Malt

Gloucester Service Station

I do not have a handle on the viewers ratings for “A Cotswold Farmshop”, but based on its predecessor series, it will get repeated. Either way, one thing is for certain, visitor numbers to this M5 Motorway Service Centre, which is already 4 million persons per annum, will certainly increase! But what I would really like to see come out if this is some remodelling of some of the other Service Centres we have to put up with. Has anyone from Moto Services been looking?

 Heritage Open Days 2023

We are always keen to support this event, and for this year we have offered x2 Maltings Tours on Friday 15th September, one in the morning at 11.00am, and one in the afternoon at 2.00pm. Both were very quickly fully booked.

It is very flattering to discover we attract so much interest. We are repeatedly told that consumer interest in the source and provenance of their food and drink is now ramping up to a whole new level, and so it should. I have just finished reading Henry Dimbleby’s very recent publication “Ravenous”, an alarming expose of ‘ultra processed food’, but also a brilliant prescription for what we can do about making our diet a whole lot healthier. We will talk about this on the tours and demonstrate Warminster Maltings proactive contribution.

Teas in the Garden Cancellation, September 13th.

It is with much regret, our last Tea Party in the garden, on 13th September, has to be cancelled, because Pat Whitty, who masterminds these events, is not very well.

We have had a good run, 27 guests in June, and 38 in August. July was down to 12 only, thanks to a depressing weather forecast that morning which did not actually transpire in the afternoon. We will of course hope to renew this hospitality again, next year, because we also very much enjoy these events, meeting all those that come along, and sharing news of developments at the Maltings.

It is all about doing what we can to share our presence in the community. We are a particularly significant part of Warminster’s history, which continues almost unchanged. It is unusual.


We are very lucky at the Maltings to have a very low turnover of staff. Most live locally, some even walk to work. However, out of a team of 16, we do have one or two places out in the Maltings that fall vacant from time to time. This is for a number of reasons: age, of course; moving home; recurring problems from injury incurred elsewhere, mostly sport.

Replacement, courtesy of a simple job advert, is now proving a little more difficult than it used to be.

So, we recognise we need to be a bit more proactive in encouraging apprenticeships, and what is more, apprenticeships with a clear indication of advancement, and greater responsibility.

We like to think we have created a more enlightened approach to running this business and practise a very inclusive style of day to day management, encouraging and driving a policy of continuous engagement across the whole team. All of us must constantly ‘think on our feet’, and so we really do value everyone’s contribution, which is always most helpful.

We also have a formal Advanced Training Scheme for any staff members who wish to take advantage of it. This covers an understanding of the whole process of making malt, from barley procurement right through to meeting customer demand for the wide range of malts we sell. The spin off from this has been that one of our maltsters is now capable of donning a white coat and conducting all our quality control procedures within our laboratory, and another has become an accomplished ‘Maltings Tour’ guide.

So, my message is, we would very much welcome enquiries from students set to leave school in the next 12 months. We know we can offer a rewarding career to anyone who would like to take up a very traditional craft. We have some very exciting plans ahead of us, and space for sharing these with anyone who thinks they might be interested.

Please get in touch with us at 39, Pound Street, Tel: 01985 212014.

Harvest Review 

The weather in July and August has not been the most perfect for bringing in the corn, but as always, farmers have found a way. With all the barley across the south of England now safely gathered in, we can offer an early assessment. 

Yields of barley have not broken any records this year, and if the National Malting Barley Competition – something of a beauty contest – was still an annual event (it was disbanded 20 years ago, or more), I have seen very little that would attract the judge’s eye. But the crop is sound.

We have bold, if not particularly beautiful, grain, +/-70kgs/hl; nitrogen content of 1.5-1.6%, and 100% germination capacity.

So, as long as germination remains robust, we would anticipate good extracts and spirit yield from all our barleys – Laureate (Spring), Maris Otter and our Plumage Archer. When we switch over to ‘new crop’, probably not until late October/early November, we will continue to major on these 3 varieties only, simply because there is no good reason not to. Following a tricky harvest, that is not the time to experiment! Besides, the headwinds in the brewing industry remain unabated. So, for the time being, we feel if we can bring some certainty to the party, then it is incumbent on us to do so. I am sure our customers will appreciate this.

Robin Appel