Increasing amounts of the main ingredient for Scotch are being imported….from England, Russia, France and even Poland.
Scotland can’t supply all the barley needed to keep the distilleries running so maltsters are now encouraging more English, Russian, French and Polish farmers to grow grain for the Scotch whisky industry.
Malting the barley involves soaking the grains and allowing them to sprout, enabling more of the starch to be converted into sugars.
The whisky industry in Scotland currently needs 800,000 tons of malting barley a year while only 100,000 is from Scotland.
Scotch producers are now trying to persuade more farmers in Germany and France to sow the kind of barley that will find favorable to the whisky producers.
They need as much alcohol out of the malt as possible, they do not care where it come from as long as they distil it in Scotland.
“What’s really important is to get the message through to the growers that the right varieties are grown – those that the distillers are looking for.”
I will be probably surprise a few people but the fact is that Scottish whisky production is very large at the moment that Scottish farmers can’t meet the demand for the barley so they’ve got to take barley from abroad and that’s been ongoing for years, unfortunately it’s not a new phenomenon, in fact this may be a scam.”
The fact is that, while much whisky marketing is aimed at stirring the emotions, the industry is run by hard-headed business people and managers who have always bought their raw ingredients wherever they can get the quality at the right price.
And if that has meant barley from Russia, Germany, Denmark, France or England then that is where it has been sourced secretly.
But malt whisky is made using only three basic ingredients: water, yeast and malted barley.
So if the main element comes from abroad, is the spirit still Scotch?
Not so sure then I would say: How could you drink a bottle of Scotch made from barley coming from Denmark? Next time you drink a Scotch Bottle ask where does the barley comes from, you may be surprised.
Posted by: Hans Muller – Berlin- Germany