New Year, New Hope, and New Prices
We can shout about the ‘New Prices’, because, contrary to almost anything else in our lives at the moment, from January 1st we have been able to reduce our Malt Prices. Boom, boom!
This has come about because the price of Spring Barley, which spiked in 2022 due to the war in Ukraine, has dropped back sufficiently for us to be able to pass on the savings we have made to our customers. It has not been an easy call, because, apart from the price of Spring Barley, nearly everything else we touch has escalated in cost.
But hopefully, our small contribution, along with the beneficial news (for brewers and publicans, at least) in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s ‘Autumn Statement’, will help to keep the fires burning in our favourite pubs and bars this winter. I am a great believer in the old adage “When times are good we drink a little, and when times are bad, we drink a little more!” I am sorry to say, currently, our drinking habits are probably more driven by the latter than the former.
Especially in winter, our pubs are such an important part of our communities. According to a recent survey they still represent 29% of our spend in hospitality. Besides, see how, before Christmas, the ‘amateur’ £700 Tik Tok advertisement for Charlie’s Bar in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, went viral, and was very quickly viewed more than a quarter of a million times! It is a powerful reminder, for some of us, of the contribution made to our wellbeing by warm and friendly pubs/bars, by the quality beers they serve, thanks to the brewers who brew them…and the malt, of course.
Charlie’s Bar Christmas Advert
Our Special Relationship
At Warminster Maltings we enjoy a very special friendship with the U.S., courtesy of our selling agents based in Ohio. This is an arrangement we put in place immediately prior to the Covid pandemic. It was immediately a source of some shared optimism: orders for full containers of our Maris Otter malts rolled in, just as our U.K. malt sales collapsed. Not only that, we set up a two- way, monthly correspondence, comparing notes on the impact and responses to Covid in our respective countries. Today, along with expanding sales volumes, our monthly correspondence continues, and I dub the incoming emails, after Alistair Cooke’s iconic broadcasts, our very own “Letter from America”.
At the end of last November, we at last had the pleasure of entertaining our Letter writer from America, at the Maltings. Bobby Terry, and his colleague Evan Luxembourg, were on their way to Germany to attend an international brewing exhibition. So they flew into Heathrow, and stayed over with us for 36 hours. We used some of the time to make a film, quite simply using iphones, like Charlie’s Bar in Enniskillen, which can be projected across the U.S.
If our efforts go viral with a quarter of a million hits in the first 48 hours I will let you know!
Of course we know that, forever, Americans have particularly loved three things about Britain: the Queen, David Beckham, and pubs. So I arranged to host our visitors overnight at a particularly good hostelry on the Longleat Estate. Here, our guests were quite adamant, that along with the local beer (made from our malt), they had to sample a plateful of good old ‘fish ‘n chips’!
We used the time to map out a plan for expansion across the U.S. There is a lot of enthusiasm amongst American Craft Brewers for the English beer styles – Best Bitter; IPA; and Stout – and so what better than English barley malts, made the traditional way, with which to brew them.
Bobby and Robin
Our Team of Malt-Stars
We consider ourselves very lucky to have such remarkable staff here at the maltings. We understand the importance of having a dedicated and experienced team and so would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge some key members of our maltings family and their rather significant anniversaries (either approaching this year, or just past).
- Leam Moulder, Operations Manager – 20 years
- Colin Scutt, Deputy Foreman – 25 years
- Jerry Curtis, Foreman – 35 years
Long service naturally brings a wealth of knowledge and skill, but surely must also mean we’re doing something right? Our staff wouldn’t stick around for so long if not and this is, at least in part, down to our inclusive approach to running the business.
We encourage engagement across the whole team. We welcome feedback. We value them and their contributions.
So, an enormous thanks to all our hard-working people, but especially to Leam, Colin and Jerry for their outstanding service. We shall be bulk ordering gold watches before we know it!
Colin, Leam & Jerry
Half a Century!
When I started writing this Newsletter, just over 6 years ago, it was originally all about building up a local following of Warminster/Wiltshire people in the event of our Maltings’ future ever being threatened. Creating a body of people we could turn to with a petition, if the need ever arose. It hasn’t, of course, and perhaps I should not be over concerned.
But with the 50th edition, I guess it would be fair to say our bi-monthly bulletins have now established themselves as part of the Maltings fabric. For the time being, we have no plans to stop!
However, I am now increasingly being helped by my colleague Lisa Conduit, in our Pound Street office. Lisa has already begun editing, even writing some of our stories. So she now, quite rightly, joins me as a signatory. Together, we boldly step forth towards “our century”!
Meanwhile, from everybody at Warminster Maltings, may we wish you all A Very Happy New Year!
Robin Appel & Lisa Conduit