Malt house to use WA barley

Malt house to use WA barley


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Kellerberrin grain grower David Leake pours a beer at the Heineken Vietnam brewery hospitality room.

Kellerberrin grain grower David Leake pours a beer at the Heineken Vietnam brewery hospitality room.

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A CUBIC metre of concrete costs roughly the same, given the exchange rate, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as it does in Perth.

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A CUBIC metre of concrete costs roughly the same, given the exchange rate, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as it does in Perth.

The difference, according to Interflour and Intermalt project manager Joe Cwach, is that in Vietnam the formwork and reinforcing is included, the concrete is pumped into position, screed and floated off for the same money.

In Perth it's still in the back of the truck waiting at the site gates.

The Vietnamese work ethic has enabled Mr Cwach to predict Intermalt's first malt house, being built next to the half-CBH-owned Interflour mill and Cai Mep port facility, will be operating by March 31 next year.

Construction of stage one of the project only started in May last year.

"We're on budget and on schedule," Mr Cwach told the CBH grower study tour when it visited last week.

Intermalt is Interflour's venture into the rapidly expanding Vietnamese malting business with the aim of replacing about half of the 400,000-450,000 tonne of malt imported mainly from Belgium and France each year, with local malt produced from WA barley.

Intermalt stage one will produce 110,000 tonnes of malt annually, with stage two predicted to double that from 2019.

Beer has become a favourite drink with Vietnamese per capita consumption now about 32 litres a year and third in Asia behind the Chinese and Japanese.

Global brand Heineken has six breweries in Vietnam producing its own label beer and popular Tiger beer from imported malt and hops from America.

The largest Heineken brewery in Ho Chi Minh City - also visited by the CBH tour - dispatches 300, 18-tonne truck loads of canned beer a day and will use malt produced by the new Intermalt plant.

But while the Vietnamese might be drinking more beer, an experience of the CBH grower study tour indicates they have some way to go in matching Australian taste for cold beer.

After watching a video at the Heineken brewery about how to pour the perfect chilled beer, members of the tour group were surprised that night at a top restaurant to be served cans of Heineken and Tiger beer at room temperature.

When dinner organiser, CBH national accumulations manager Henry Carracher, remonstrated with the head waiter, the waiter indicated he had a solution and sent his team off in a hurry.

They returned with trays of pint glasses half-filled with ice to cool the beer.

After a show of hands it was quickly decided that the best way out of the situation without insulting the hosts was to pour the first round of drinks into the glasses and down beer on the rocks.

Thankfully the second round of beers was served cold.

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