Value added Ag: Wyo Malting hosts open house
Pine Bluffs – For cousins and co-owners of Wyoming Malting Company Chad Brown and Gene Purdy, the idea for the company’s creation began approximately five years ago.
“I was brewing beer in Las Vegas, Nev., and Gene came out to visit me,” says Brown. “He asked me if I would work on the farm with him and figure out a value-added product for the farm.”
The company officially completed construction and hosted an open house of their facility on March 17.
“Construction started Sept. 1. They said it would take six months, and it took six months and two weeks,” Brown continues. “The construction process itself was just amazing.”
Brown explains that the facility for Wyoming Malting Company is 22,500 square feet.
“It has approximately 17,500 square feet of manufacturing or warehouse space and a couple thousand feet of grain cleaning space. Then it’s got about 2,000 square feet of retail and office space,” he says.
Now that the facility has been built, the company is working to install malting equipment.
“We’re installing duct work and the malting drums themselves. We’re waiting on the computer controls to run everything,” comments Brown. “That should be here next week, and it’ll take a couple weeks for installation.”
Brown continues, “If all goes well, we could have a batch of malt in about a month.”
Realistically, Wyoming Malting Company is expecting to officially open at the beginning of May.
In addition to the malting side of the company, Brown explains that Wyoming Malting Company is also working on a small distillery.
“The other part of the business is we’re going to have a small on-site distillery, as well. That is a few months out from being in operation, though,” he says, noting that the malting side of the business is the first priority.
According to Brown, the distillery is another opportunity to add value to locally grown crops.
“That goes back to the value-added idea, as well, because this area can not only grow barley, but we also raise wheat, corn and millet,” continues Brown. “All of those raw cereal grains can be used to make spirits, such as vodka, whiskey and gin.”
“The two main things we can bring to the town are jobs on the actual malting facility side and through farming,” explains Brown.
As part of their business plan, Wyoming Malting Company plans to add jobs in their local community of Pine Bluffs within the facility.
Their company also plans to start contracting with other local farmers to grow barley.
“With current commodity prices, any opportunity for a farmer to grow something else that is worth more than wheat and corn is selling for is a good thing,” says Brown.
After the company first opens in May, he notes that the number of employees will only be around three, but that the number is expected to dramatically increase as the company grows.
“When we open in May, it’s going to be pretty small, probably about three people,” he comments. “Once we figure out our production and learn more about it, we hope to be up to about five to seven people.”
Brown continues, “Then, in our goal in five years is to have 15 people on site.”
Keeping an eye toward future growth has been an important priority for Wyoming Malting Company as they’ve built their facility.
“The facility was built with growth in mind, so we have three malting drums now, which will produce about nine tons of malt a week,” explains Brown. “We can add six more malting drums without any more construction to the building.”
He explains that the company’s goal is to triple in size within five to 10 years, which will increase the number of jobs they have available to community members.
“That would add more operations-type jobs. It would require more farmers to grow for us. The building really is built for growth, which we’re excited about,” says Brown.
Similarly, the distilling side of the company is built, so we will be able to expand.
“That side of the business can triple, as well, without adding more building,” Brown concludes.
Emilee Gibb is editor of Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.