Fourth to first generation
Briess actively contracts with more than 300 barley growers in the Bighorn Basin and Red River Valley. Every year these highly experienced farmers put their expertise to work for Briess, producing barley destined for craft beer and premium foods. They embrace the concept of growing barley for these specialty markets, and take pride consistently producing top quality crops to help our customers succeed.
Many Briess barley growers operate family farms, comprised of fourth to first generation. Like Briess barley grower Fred Hopkin of Wyoming. Fred is a third-generation grower, operating a family farm that has been growing malting barley for decades. Like other family farmers, each generation in the Hopkin family is passing their farming expertise and passion for growing barley to the next.
For Briess growers, barley is an important rotation crop that works well with other crops. They like and know how to grow barley well. They know the soil. Can smell when rain is coming. And know whether it’s time to harvest, or wait and go fishing for a while, then harvest. Over the years, advanced agronomic practices and new barley varieties bred specifically for these regions have helped growers improve quality and yield, benefiting both the grower and the brewer. Even as barley acreage in other regions was being lost to easier-to-grow, more lucrative commodity crops like corn, growers in these regions continued to grow malting barley. They played a key role in the development of the Bighorn Basin and Red River Valley into the premium barley growing regions they are today.
It’s all about our grower partners
To help our customers succeed, we must also help our growers succeed. The Briess Barley Program operates on the premise that growing malting barley must equally benefit the grower, maltster and brewer. We partner with our growers. Highly trained Briess staff in Wyoming and Minnesota have close relationships with our growers, frequently visiting them on their farms and fields to provide technical support and expertise. A volunteer Grower Advisory Committee of eight growers from Wyoming and Montana helps maintain open lines of communications between Briess and growers throughout the expansive Bighorn Basin.
Growers have responded to our support, open lines of communication and fair treatment. Since establishing our barley grower network, Briess has increased both the number of growers and acres planted. Our growers enjoy the ability to produce a wider variety of barley that growing for Briess offers. And to help craft beer and artisan spirits continue to grow, more growers are producing experimental varieties for pilot malting and brewing, and scaling up production of new varieties. This helps decrease the time to bring a new variety to market.
We thank our growers for their hard work, passion for their craft, and pride in producing high-quality barley for craft beer and premium foods.