A conversation with Andy Janes, Head of Corporate Marketing at Muntons
A German saying loosely translated as ‘Hops and malt for beer, may God preserve them here’ alludes to the basic ingredients used in beer brewing. These ingredients were laid down in the brewing purity law of the 1500s, which requires that ‘nothing other than malted barley, hops and water be used’ to produce beer. Innovation in brewing has allowed for experimentation with these base ingredients, but malt has remained a staple.
Founded shortly after the end of the First World War, Muntons is one of the largest producers of malt in the UK. Over the company’s 90-year history, Muntons has grown to become a significant international player in the supply of malts, malt extracts, flours and flakes to the food and drinks industry.
With two maltings, one in Bridlington in Yorkshire, and one in Stowmarket in Suffolk, Muntons produces 175,000 tonnes of malt a year, and has sales offices in Chicago and, due the growing market for malt in Asia, a presence in Thailand and Singapore.
Andy Janes, Head of Corporate Marketing, is incredibly upbeat on the future of the company he has been with for 38 years, and is especially proud of its environmental values. Sustainable agriculture throughout the supply chain is critical for brewers and food companies, giving them a licence to operate. Muntons not only complies with the globally-recognised ISO standards, but boldly goes beyond what is required with its significant pledge to produce 100% low carbon malt across all operations. Another example is the £5.4m investment in an aerobic digestion plant, which provides 14% of their electricity and reduces their waste.
This approach is what makes Muntons the malt supplier of choice for progressive large businesses as well the fast-growing craft beer industry, where the focus on quality and the environment is greatly appreciated by the younger generation of beer drinkers.
Despite Mr Janes’ positivity about Muntons’ prospects, he is concerned about the future of the European Trade policies following Brexit, specifically the Common Agricultural Policy. “CAP underpins our competitiveness against our European peers and we need to be sure that UK manufacturers will not be disadvantaged by the decision to leave the EU; we absolutely must have a level playing field,” said Mr Janes. “Outside of this policy, Muntons is at risk of being outcompeted not only in Europe, but all over the world.”
As for other challenges brought by Brexit-related uncertainty, Mr Janes is certain that Muntons is well-positioned to adapt to fluctuations in inflation, interest rates and the currency market, as long as the core policy (CAP), enabling its competitiveness, remains safe.
For Muntons to continue to invest in the mechanisation of malt production and environmental innovation, the company needs certainty from the government that it will be able to trade simply all over the world and compete fairly with its European peers. Muntons is “willing to pay over the odds for high quality people and invest in them and their communities”, as long as the Government puts in places the policies that give the essential stability to rural mid-sized businesses in the UK. “We don’t want favouritism, but we need a helping hand towards fairness in the marketplace post Brexit”.