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Asahi Beverages to source barley from Aussie farmers

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Asahi Beverages has announced that it will be sourcing malting barley directly from Australian farmers as part of a major overhaul of its supply chain operations.

The new supply chain will be using local barley to brew beers, such as Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught, for the first time in decades, with the first batch of new beers to roll off the lines next month.

90% of Asahi Beverages’ barley will be bought directly from Aussie farmers in line with Asahi’s quality and sustainability requirements.

Once implemented, the program is set to expand to Asahi’s smaller breweries including Cascade in Hobart.

Asahi Beverages’ Group Chief Brewer Jaideep Chandrasekharan said sourcing malting barley direct from farmers is an important change for their national operations and also the dozens of farmers they’ll purchase from.

“Under the old model the grains we purchased gen

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erally weren’t segregated but this program allows us to track the provenance of barley used to brew our major beers and gives us direct relationships with more farmers,” Chandrasekharan said.

“Farmers will grow barley in accordance with our strict quality program, we’ll monitor quality parameters such as protein levels and grain size, and we’ll link on-farm practices to beer quality,” he said.

He continued that they will also track water use and other agricultural inputs to ensure the barley helps Asahi achieve their sustainability targets.

“Until recently, the expertise to develop and maintain an intricate program like this at scale didn’t exist in Australia but we’re now working with supply chain managers Origin Trail and Pure Grain to bring it to life,” Chandrasekharan said.

The new deal showcases Australian farmers’ commitment to producing high quality and sustainably grown barley.  It has engaged more than 30 Victorian farmers in the barley-growing hubs of the Wimmera and the Mallee, with their 30,000 tonnes of barley sent to the Abbotsford Brewery once it has been malted.

Additionally, seven farmers from southern NSW will supply 40,000 tonnes of barley to Asahi’s Yatala Brewery in Queensland once it has been malted.

Growers in northern NSW are also expected to join the scheme before this year’s harvest. The first beers using the directly-purchased barley will be brewed at both Abbotsford and Yatala in April.

Farmer John Bennett, whose barley farm in Victoria’s West Wimmera is now supplying Asahi Beverages direct, said the new program connects their farm directly with Asahi Beverages.

“This relationship gives us a better understanding of their stringent quality parameters and ensures we provide the highest-quality barley for their brewing process,” Bennett said.

“Buying barley direct not only benefits farmers, but the communities we live in too,” he explained.

Asahi Beverages, which developed the new direct sourcing program after it purchased Carlton & United Breweries last year, buys more than 70,000 tonnes of barley annually before it’s turned into malt ready for use in brewing.

Under the new deal, barley purchased direct from farmers will travel from farms to Asahi’s breweries in in Yatala, Queensland or Abbotsford, Victoria, before being shipped across Australia as beer.

Source: Asahi Beverages

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