Marston’s Brewery Goes Back to its ‘Grain’ Roots with Winter Barley from the Holkham Estate

Marston’s Brewery have partnered with the Holkham Estate in north Norfolk to provide the grain for Marston’s beer. This agreement ensures that the grain will cover a large proportion of Burton’s malt and will be used as the backbone supply for Marston’s beers.

When Marston’s Brewery first announced that they were focussing on ‘From Burton with Love’, their plan was to stick to it. For them it was more than a marketing campaign, it was about stripping everything back to the DNA of what makes Marston’s Brewery, Marston’s Brewery. Focussing on its beers, the brand have been looking into the four main components of what makes their beers extra special and have taken steps to working with suppliers whose ideals and practices echo Marston’s Brewery’s continual strive for quality, above all else.

A perfect marriage between Marston’s Brewery and Holkham’s farms was confirmed when the Marston’s brewing team visited the Holkham Estate with its long tradition of growing both winter and spring barley for the brewing industry. Marston’s got the opportunity to go back to the roots of the source and to see first-hand the crop that helps to shape their beer range. The contract has been driven by local maltsters, Crisp Malting Group at Great Ryburgh, Norfolk, who helped secure the exclusive contract between Holkham and Marston’s and who will malt the barley from the Holkham Estate before it is used to brew Marston’s beer.

As the backbone of a great beer, and giving it much of its flavour and appearance, the grain is a pivotal ingredient that, when brewed, ferments into alcohol. For Marston’s Brewery it was key that they had the best supply and with that, they took to north Norfolk in East Anglia, for its perfect maritime, micro-climate to select their grain from the Holkham Estate, bringing it over 140 miles back to the spiritual home of brewing in Burton.

Patrick McGinty, Head Brewer at Marston’s Brewery said: “It was fantastic to meet such a great team and people who are so passionate about their product as much as we are. Our whole focus is built around ‘From Burton with Love’ and what better way to celebrate this than taking the grain from the heart of crop agriculture to the heart of Burton brewing.”

James Beamish, Holkham’s Farm Manager added: “The Holkham Estate is considered to be the birthplace of modern agriculture, with Thomas William Coke, the 1st Earl of Leicester, better known as Coke of Norfolk, renowned for championing innovation in agriculture in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Today farming at Holkham adopts many of Coke’s principles and we are encouraged that through the partnership to supply Marston’s with malting barley, we will be able to work with Holkham’s tenant farmers to secure their long-term sustainability for the estate in the barley industry. The soil and climate here are ideal for growing superlative malting barley and we are confident that our product fits well with Marston’s values for provenance and quality.”

The agreement ensures that the grain will cover a large proportion of Burton’s malt and will be used as the backbone supply for Marston’s beers. The agreement, set to extend past the 2019 harvest, and will use classics such as Pedigree and 61 Deep, to newer innovative beers coming out of the micro-brewery, DE14.

Sustainable practice, with a real strive for quality in all areas, is a big part of Marston’s brewing process, with heritage and innovation playing major parts. Looking towards helping to complete a lifecycle of the grain, Marston’s Brewery’s efficiency initiative includes utilising the by-product of the grain after the brewery process which is collected and sent to local farmers to be used as highly nutritious cattle feed.

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