Our grains are sourced locally. Briess malting is just down the road in Chilton, WI.
140 Years in the Making
Making the industry’s best malts and brewing ingredients takes time. In our case…about 140 years. That's when the Briess malting tradition began, in 1876 when Ignatius Briess—a grain exchanger—began malting barley grown in the fertile Moravian valleys of his homeland Czechoslovakia.
Little did Ignatius know that his handcrafted traditions would cross the Atlantic to a small town in Wisconsin…to be handed down to generations of family members just as obsessed with quality malt as he was.
Today, Briess Malt & Ingredients Co. is a recognized leader in developing and producing handcrafted specialty malts for the American Craft Beer industry. Producing more styles of malt than any other malting company in the world, Briess sets the benchmark for unique flavor, color and performance in handcrafted specialty malts.
1876—Briess family malting tradition begins
Ignatius Briess, a grain trader living and working in his homeland of Moravia, Czechoslovakia, knows Moravian malt is recognized throughout the world for its exceptionally high quality. Demand for it is strong. So he builds a malthouse, and Ignatius and cousin Wilhelm Briess begin advertising their “Prima-Malz” for export.
1894—Rudolf Briess grows business
Second generation Rudolf Briess specializes in exports to Germany, Belgium, the United States and Latin America. The business gains worldwide recognition as a reputable supplier of highquality malt. He develops a malted barley flour ingredient for bakeries he brands and markets as “Maltoferm,” and also adds a brewhouse for the production of malt extract.
1901—Meanwhile, across the pond
Unrelated to the activities of the Briess family in Czechoslovakia, a group of businessmen in a small rural Wisconsin town pool resources and build a malthouse. It provides local farmers with a place to sell their barley, and jobs for the locals. In time, the Chilton Malting Company would play a leading role in the Briess family malting business. This artist’s drawing of the malthouse and elevator is from a 1909 postcard.
1930s—Coming to America
During the early part of the 20th century, war along with political and economic unrest, decimate the Briess family malting business. Third generation maltster/brewer Eric Briess immigrates to the United States, where he begins exporting domestically produced Briess malt to customers whose sources of malt had been cut off as a result of the war.
1950s—Specialty malt production begins
Eager to grow business, Eric establishes a relationship with the Chilton Malting Company in Wisconsin, acquiring its capacity and implementing improvements to increase capacity and product mix. K-Ball Roasters from the G.W. Barth Company of Germany are installed for the production of roasted caramel malt.
1960s—Roasting capacity increases
More K-Ball Roasters are added, bringing the number in operation to four. Churning out 600-pounds of roasted caramel malt per batch, the K-Balls perform all roasting duties until the 1970s, when drum roasters are installed. Equipment and process upgrades during the 1960s triple export and domestic shipments.
1971—Roger Briess takes the reigns
Trained at the famed Weihenstephan University in Germany, fourth generation maltster/brewer Roger Briess continues the family malting tradition after Eric Briess passes away. A visionary, he is the first maltster to recognize the potential of the emerging American Craft Beer movement.
1978—Chilton Maltilng Co. becomes Briess Malting Co.
The Briess family acquires Chilton Malting Co., and Roger Briess changes the focus of the business from export to the domestic production of specialty malts for American Craft Beer. Already experienced in specialty malt production, the company installs drum roasters and greatly expands it specialty malt portfolio for craft beer.
1980s—Innovation fuels American Craft Beer
Roger Briess makes Briess Malting Co. the first maltster to offer 50-pound bags of malt, preground malt, CBW® pure malt extract, and a silo installation program to craft brewers. These innovations decrease start-up costs and solve challenges of small-scale craft beer production, greatly contributing to the growth of American Craft Beer. Roger Briess also revives the Maltoferm® brand, this time as a line of pure malt extracts for bakery and other foods, positioning Briess as a specialty ingredient supplier to both the U.S. Craft Beer and Food Industries.
1990s—Expanding capabilities and capacity
Insta Grains® is commissioned in 1990. Named for its signature product line of pregelatinized grains, the facility produces brewers flakes that eliminate the need for cereal cookers in breweries. In 1995, malting capacity more than doubles when a second malthouse is purchased in Waterloo, WI. In 1997, roasters are added there.
2001—The tradition expands
Monica Briess becomes CEO after the unexpected death of husband Roger Briess on April 25, 2001. The family affirms its commitment to continued family ownership and American Craft Beer. The following year, a state-of-the-art 500bbl brewhouse/conversion plant is commissioned. It was Roger’s vision, and brought malt extract production onsite for complete quality control. To better reflect its position as a supplier to beer and food, the company name expands to Briess Malt & Ingredients Company.
2013—Acquiring a consistent supply of barley
A modern elevator and seed plant located in the Bighorn Basin of northwest Wyoming are acquired by Briess. The region is a semi-arid, flood-irrigated agricultural region known for producing some of the highest quality malting barley in the world. It connects Briess and its customers with more than 300 experienced barley growers, assuring Briess a consistent supply of barley for the future.
2014—WI acquisition increases storage, capacity
Briess acquires a large grain processing operation in Manitowoc, 40 miles from its Chilton campus in Wisconsin. The expansive operation includes a 244′ elevator with cleaning and grading, onsite lab, and 4.3 million bushels of storage along the shore of Lake Michigan. It is connected by rail to the company’s Ralston Elevator in Wyoming, and two malting operations in Wisconsin. The acquisition gives Briess complete control of its barley supply chain.
2015—A year of increasing capacity
Briess recommissions a large malthouse on its Manitowoc property, more than doubling malting capacity. Simultaneously, to accommodate increased acreage by Briess barley growers in Wyoming and Montana, 1.5 million bushels of storage is added at the Ralston Elevator in Wyoming. A third roaster is added to the Waterloo Malthouse, bringing the number of roasters operated by Briess to seven.
Briess celebrates five generations and 140 years of continuously Briess family ownership.
2017—Second Insta Grains® plant commissioned
The five-story addition more than doubles capacity, and expands technology to include validating the production of ready-to-eat ingredients. It also includes additional processing equipment, an automated packaging line with robotic palletizer, and enhanced gluten free processing.
To meet the high standards for quality that we set for ourselves, Briess has developed a company-wide Quality Program that encompasses all areas of operations including:
This integrated system assures that we meet and exceed industry-accepted standards set forth in the quality programs we employ. Major components of our program include:
Good Manufacturing Practices
Registered under FDA
Security - Bioterrorism Regulations
Food Safety - HAACP
Extensive rodent and pest control
State, federal and third-party audits
Multi-faceted Quality Control Program
The Briess Quality Control Program begins with an aggressive purchasing program that establishes specifications and requires that only high quality raw materials are sourced.
When sourcing malting barley, only AMBA/BMBRI recommended varieties are considered. For every lot of grain we purchase, a pre-shipment sample of barley is tested and frequently pilot malted and pilot brewed to determine how it will perform in the brewery. Samples are taken again when the raw material is received. Testing is conducted in the Malthouse Lab, one of two fully-staffed and equipped labs that conduct critical components of the Quality Control Program.
Throughout the malting process, the green malt is regularly checked physically, organoleptically and chemically by the maltster and quality control specialists. Adjustments are made throughout the process to optimize the finished malt quality.
When malting is complete, daily productions are stored in individual holding bins until lab technicians analyze the finished product. In addition to chemical and physical evaluations, sensory evaluations are conducted on both the malt and wort produced from it by trained specialists to assure the flavor and aroma profiles are consistent with the malt type. The malt is then transferred to an aging silo containing malt of similar specifications.
When a shipment of malt is prepared, a sample is again tested by lab technicians. The shipment is held until it is released by the lab.
Malt destined for the extraction process is treated by the Extract Plant Lab in the same manner that malting barley destined for the malting process is treated by the Malthouse Lab. A "pre-shipment" sample is tested, and the testing process continues throughout the extraction, packaging and shipping process.
Production and shipping samples are retained for at least six months. From time to time, samples are randomly selected and evaluated to verify prior results.
Briess subscribes to the ASBC Malt Check Service which provides quarterly samples for analyses. Briess laboratory results are compared to 61 other laboratories which check the accuracy of testing results and assures that equipment is properly calibrated at all times.