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Assured UK Malt

Accredited Malt Maltsters Association of Great Britain

Case Study - Adnams

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Brand Integrity is Crucial for UK Regional Brewer

Mike Powell-Evans, Head Brewer with Adnams Brewery based at Southwold on the east coast of England, is a man for whom traceability and quality of ingredients are of the utmost importance in ensuring brand integrity. His vast experience in the industry - he has been Head Brewer with Adnams for 16 years, and joined them from Bass - is dedicated to ensuring consistent quality of product. He seeks to combine traditional craftsmanship with modern brewing techniques to produce a range of products to satisfy all tastes.

Sampling the beer brewed by Adnams
Mike Powell-Evans checks malting barley

Mike follows in a fine tradition that dates back to 1345 when records first mention brewing at Southwold, and as long ago as 1659 when brewing began on the current site as a brewhouse for the Swan public house. Adnams is an independent family-owned business. Managing Director Jonathan Adnams' family has been involved with the business since the 1870s, and Chairman Simon Loftus' family have been part of the company since the beginning of the twentieth century.

For many years Adnams was, like so many UK regional brewers, a well-kept local secret with its beer only being sold in the local area, before expanding after the Second World War to cover the wider region of East Anglia. Today it enjoys a much wider success and has gained considerable recognition throughout the UK.

Mike Powell-Evans says: "We have spent a lot of time and money in building national recognition of our ĪBeer from the coast', and developing a brand that is recognised throughout the UK . The vast majority of our beer goes out though outlets which we don't control. Only seven per cent is sold in our own pubs, ten per cent goes through supermarkets and the remainder (83 per cent) through other pubs. Our business is, therefore, wholly dependent upon the quality of its products and the value of the brand."

    Brewing beer at the Adnams brewery  
At the Adnams brewery

Mike realises that to a large extent responsibility for both of these things rests on his shoulders. Even though a company may put large amounts of money behind building the brand, if the quality of the product is not right the brand can lose its value overnight. It is not surprising, therefore, that he is very concerned about the quality of the ingredients, especially the malt.

"If our brand is to continue to be successful," he says, "Our beer must be of the highest standard, and that means using the best ingredients. For us that means local ingredients that are traceable. I regularly take a delivery note from one of our maltsters and ask them to ĪTake me back to the field'. I want a system that enables me to trace the product back to the farm it was grown on, and to give the management of the brewery, the people who sell our beer, and the consumer total confidence in the quality of the product.

"We advertise our beer as 'Beer from the coast' and we want to be able to demonstrate that it has been produced from locally sourced ingredients."

The finished article: a pint of Adnams beer

Given his passion for quality and traceability, it is hardly surprising that Mike Powell-Evans supports the Assured UK Malt (AUKM) scheme. All the maltsters used by Adnams are part of the scheme and, while he intends to continue with his own auditing, he believes that AUKM provides an additional assurance, giving him faith in his suppliers.

"Adnams has BRC (British Retail Consortium) accreditation and our commitment to quality is something that is crucial to the business. We have to ensure the highest standards for all our customers, but the supermarkets in the UK have put particular emphasis on this area in recent times. Although it is only 10 per cent of our sales, multiple retailers represent an important showcase, giving Adnams a national presence. They have created an additional pressure for high standards of quality, traceability and brand integrity, which schemes like AUKM help us to meet."

Unlike Mike Powell-Evans, not every brewer who uses Assured UK Malt can personally visit the farms where the barley is grown. Maltsters in the AUKM scheme serve markets all over the world. However, one of the unique strengths of the scheme is its links with farm assurance schemes in the UK . This means that the levels of assurance are so high that it is almost as if every brewer using AUKM malt could visit the farm and assure himself that standards are being met.

As Ivor Murrell of the Maltsters Association of Great Britain says: "Every farm that provides barley for AUKM malt is in an accredited farm assurance scheme, and is independently audited. Brewers and beer drinkers want to know that they can trust their product ingredients, know where they came from, and know they have been produced to the highest standards. AUKM can prove that is the case all the way along the production chain, providing reassurance to brewers and distillers that their brands are in safe hands."

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