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Representatives from the Brewing, distilling and malting industry have been working together for over fifty years; to evaluate new barleys and to decide if they can join the list of those varieties that are preferred by the maltster, to meet the brewer and distillers different needs. When a barley variety is judged to be suitable for use by the malting industry it is included on the Internationally recognised Malting Barley Committee (MBC) Approved List. Barleys are given ‘Provisional Approval’ status when the industry thinks that the barley has malting potential, but would prefer to see the results from another season’s crop before a final decision is made.

As barleys become outclassed, they are replaced by varieties that can more closely match the market. The removal of such varieties from the list does not mean they are no longer suitable for malting; some may very well serve a valuable niche market, like the variety Maris Otter. Farmers who have grown such varieties well for many years, may prefer to continue to supply customers who request them.

Barleys are not only evaluated for a malting purpose, they are also judged against their performance for final needs.

The Malting Barley Update publication, including The Approved List for next years harvest divided into winter and spring sown varieties is available here

Following their Autumn meeting the Malting Barley Committee discuss the progress of new varieties within the testing system. The outcome can be viewed on this Update to Malting Barley Approved Lists for Harvest 2021 (link to latest press release Nov).

If you would like to discuss market needs with your local maltsters, click here for a list of all MAGB members malting sites (link to malting malting sites page)

View here the tonnage of barley varieties bought by MAGB members in Scotland and England for the last year of finalised records.