Guinness could soon be missing key ingredient as current recipe 'no longer viable' due to pricing
Farmers have warned Guinness may be made solely from imported malt in the future unless stronger prices are delivered to support the struggling tillage sector.
Over 100 cereal and malting barley growers gathered outside the gates of malting company Boortmalt headquarters in Athy, Co Kildare to highlight the poor returns received for a key ingredient in a pint of the black stuff.
Farmers whose families have been growing malting barley for up to six generations warned it was no longer viable for them to continue producing it at current prices.
Bobby Miller from the Irish Grain Growers’ (IGG) group called for a minimum of €200/t for malting barley for brewing and €220-230/t for distilling grade malting barley as it is produced to higher specifications.
Farmers gathered at the protest stated the average harvest base price they received was around €155/t as they stated they could not sign up for the higher future price as they could not guarantee delivery with the tight specifications.
“We are all proud to be tillage farmers and we want to stay tillage farmers,” said Mr Miller. However, he warned many farmers were now being forced to turn their backs on malting barley.
“The malt industry should be a good news story and it is for many but it is not reaching farmers pockets,” he said, with the average income of a tillage farmer just over €30,000.
“We are being squeezed out of business. We can’t compete with other sectors. On my way in here today I passed by two substantial farms that were dedicated tillage farms but have now gone into dairy.”