ASHEVILLE, NC— 2022 was a monumental year for Riverbend Malt House that included a 50 percent capacity increase, and deeper agricultural and environmental commitments than ever before. The malthouse was honored with a prestigious Malt Cup award for malt quality, and named one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing private companies— among many other milestones.
Here is the Riverbend Malt House 2022 Year In Review.
Production and Capacity
In 2022, Riverbend Malt House malted 3.3 million pounds of craft malt, which included mainstay styles as well as custom and smoked malt for specialty projects. This production level was 28 percent higher than in 2021.
In response to the growing demand for craft malt among breweries and distilleries throughout the Southeast, Riverbend Malt House added a 10 tonne steep tank and 10-tonne Germination Kiln Vessel (GKV) unit to its production facility in 2022. These equipment additions increased the malthouse’s overall craft malt production capacity by more than 50 percent.
Local Farmers and Customers
In 2022, Riverbend sourced grain from North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky Virginia, Georgia and even Florida— all from family-owned farms within 500 miles of the malthouse— and worked with agricultural researchers across the region on barley research and breeding. After ten years in the making, Riverbend was one of the first malthouses in the country to malt the new Avalon barley variety developed by Virginia Tech’s Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
Riverbend sold malt to more than 280 different breweries and distilleries in 2022. Nearly 100 of these are new to the malt house’s customer base. With the overall craft brewing market falling flat in 2022, craft brewers are increasingly seeking ways to differentiate themselves, and using locally sourced high quality craft malt is one strategy employed with increasing frequency.
Distillers continue to be an important and growing segment of Riverbend’s customer base, with almost a quarter of 2022 sales going to more than 30 customers in this exciting market. Three of Riverbend’s top 10 customers in 2022 were craft distillers.
Over the course of the year, Riverbend reduced its carbon emissions per pound of malt produced by 2 percent. in partnership with the WNC Brewery Recycling Co-Op composted 85 tons of organic waste and diverted 16,216 pounds of polywoven plastic from the landfills through a new malt bag recycling program activated by the Asheville Brewers Alliance and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. In total, Riverbend redirected approximately 186,000 pounds of waste from landfill in 2022.
Events & Community
In 2022, Riverbend was proud to create custom malt blends for the Athens Pink Boots Society Women’s International Brew Day beer made at Terrapin Beer Co;, and for Fullsteam Brewery’s new base malt aptly named Plow To Pint Pilsner, among other projects.
As the largest and longest-standing malthouse in the Southeast, Riverbend was honored to share its expertise at several industry gatherings including the 2022 Craft Malt Conference and the 2022 North Carolina Craft Brewers Conference.
Riverbend was delighted to support Farm To Tap launched by the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture through a series of events and panel discussions. This initiative encourages Tennessee brewers to use Tennessee sourced ingredients in their beer, and the malthouse is thrilled to see it return in 2023.
Awards & Accolades
Riverbend maintained its Living Wage Certified Employer status from Just Economics, the largest voluntary Living Wage Certification in the nation. 100 percent of Riverbend’s employees are compensated at or above the living wage rate established by Just Economics for Buncombe County. Additionally, Riverbend pays for 100 percent of employee health insurance premiums.
In February 2022, Riverbend took home a bronze award in the Craft Maltsters Guild’s Malt Cup for the Chesapeake Pilsner style. 2022 was the fourth year of this prestigious awards program— often called the Great American Beer Festival® or the Oscars® of craft malt– that recognizes craft maltsters for the quality and consistency of their malt.
In August 2022, Riverbend was named number 2804 of the fastest growing private companies in the country on the Inc. 5000 list. The annual Inc. 5000 list is one of the most prestigious rankings of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, representing top tier independent small businesses in America. Inc. 5000 status is conferred based upon a company’s cumulative revenue growth over the preceding three years. Since 2018, amid the global COVID pandemic, Riverbend has attained a revenue growth rate of 198 percent.
Throughout the year, many of Riverbend’s customers were recognized with medals from multiple awards programs for beers made with Riverbend malt– including the Great American Beer Festival®, the World Beer Cup®, the U.S. Beer Open, the North Carolina Brewers Cup, and the Virginia Craft Beer Cup. Riverbend extends congratulations to these producers for their commitment to quality that begins with their investment in ingredients.
Contact Emily Hutto at hutto@radcraftbeer with media inquiries about Riverbend Malt House.
ABOUT RIVERBEND MALT HOUSE
Riverbend Malt House is on a quest to connect Southeastern family owned farms and fermenters. Co-Founders Brent Manning and Brian Simpson launched Riverbend, the first craft malthouse east of the Mississippi River, in Asheville, North Carolina in 2010. Buoyed by a 70,000 foot production facility and state of the art equipment, Riverbend Malt House helps breweries and distilleries large, small, and in-between stand out with flavor, locality, and community in an increasingly competitive landscape— all the while challenging the status quo of corporate, big-agriculture malt. Learn more at riverbendmalt.com.