Riverbend Malt House is coming off of a record year in business that included significant production and footprint expansion, increased recycling and waste reduction, and a celebration of their last decade in the craft malt business, among other community milestones. Here is the Riverbend Malt House’s 2021 Year in Review.


In 2021, Riverbend Malt House added a 10-tonne Germination Kiln Vessel (GKV) unit to its production facility in June. This state-of-the-art equipment increased the overall malthouse capacity by 40 percent, enabling Riverbend to meet growing demand for craft malt among breweries and distilleries throughout the Southeast.

Throughout the year, Riverbend malted 2.6 million pounds of 14 varieties of malt, which included 20 tons of malt with 12 different flavor combinations for specialty projects.


In 2021, Riverbend proudly expanded its agricultural and sales footprints across its home state of North Carolina, as well as sourcing grain from South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and Washington DC to meet industry demand for high quality craft malt that adds value and locality to craft beer and spirits made across the region. 272 breweries and distilleries purchased Riverbend craft malt last year, of which more than a third are new to the malt house’s customer base.

Environmental Commitment

In August, Riverbend announced the achievement of a recycling milestone of 100,000 pounds of rootlet material repurposed for use by nearby cattle operations. This recycling effort is one of many sustainability initiatives that Riverbend supports. Additional environmental initiatives  include electricity and natural gas consumption tracking, composting, and solid waste management.

Over the course of the year, Riverbend reduced its carbon emissions per pound of malt produced by 3.3%, composted eight tons of organic waste in partnership with the WNC Brewery Recycling Co-op, and redirected approximately 140,000 pounds of waste from landfill in 2021. “Now that the co-op is up and running, we hope to expand our efforts with customer pickup at select accounts during 2022,” says Riverbend Co-Founder Brent Manning. “We’ll work to increase efficiency with new equipment and expand our composting efforts as well.”

Read Riverbend’s full sustainability commitments report for 2021 here.

Events & Community 

In partnership with Asheville Greenworks and French Broad Chocolate, Riverbend helped to collect 3,000 pounds of garbage from the Swannanoa River. This effort will continue in 2022.

Riverbend was excited to participate in the South by Northwest collaboration with Skagit Valley Malting. In this exploration of Washington and North Carolina malt terroir Riverbend created two SMaSH (single malt and single hop) malt-forward pale ales brewed identically at DSSOLR in Asheville, North Carolina and Terramar Brewstillery in Edison, Washington. Both craft beers featured the experimental hop HBC 586 with the only variable being the base malt— both 2-row winter barley varieties grown in North Carolina and in the Skagit Valley.

Awards & Accolades 

Riverbend was proud to earn Living Wage Certified Employer status from Just Economics, the largest voluntary living wage certification in the nation. All 17 of Riverbend’s employees are compensated at or above the living wage rate established by Just Economics for Buncombe County.

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 U.S. Beer Open, the North Carolina Brewers Cup, and the National Honey Board Honey Beer Competition, among others. Congratulations to these producers for their commitment to quality that begins in the ground.

10 Year Harvest 

Riverbend worked with family farms across the Southeast to produce its highest quality and highest yielding harvest yet. This 10 year harvest included the Sunset Wheat, a Munich-style offering developed to celebrate this milestone. Professional and homebrewers across the Southeast made specialty beers with this wheat variety in commemoration, and continue to do so into 2022.

The same producers of the show Crafted that debuted on Amazon Prime earlier this year premiered a new show called The Makers on Tuesday. This digital series and podcast profiles the makers, creators, culture, and community of craft beer.

The first episode features the story of the making of Bowigens Beer Company Smooth Velvet, brewed with craft malt from Riverbend Malt House and an entire cake from Valhalla Bakery in the mash.

Smooth Velvet is an Imperial Mocha Red Velvet Ale brewed with an entire red velvet cake in the mash. Inspired by the phenomenal Red Velvet cake from Valhalla Bakery, this beer is brewed with a crafted blend of Pilsner and Munich malts along with wheat and oats from Riverbend Malt House. It is then aged on copious amounts of Madagascar vanilla beans, chocolate and freshly roasted local coffee beans from Rosso Specialty Coffee. This Imperial Red Ale is deliciously smooth with a perfect balance of flavors, and the best part is, it’s dairy free! This beer will be available on tap and in 4-packs of 16oz cans on Friday, December 17 at 12pm at both Bowigens tasting room locations. The Bowigens Casselberry location will also have a limited amount of the Valhalla Bakery Red Velvet cake available for To-Go purchase.

On Tuesday December 21st, a new podcast discussing The Makers will go live on Spotify, Apple and all other platforms where podcasts are found.

The Makers is an exciting new series for us and is a perfect extension to the Crafted brand that celebrates the vast variety and stories of craft breweries around the country,” says Craig Chapman of Crafted. “The Makers allows us to dive even deeper into the passion and stories of all the creative artisans that make craft beer.”

Watch the first episode of The Makers on Youtube.

Future episodes will come out in early 2022. The producers are still looking for great stories to tell from around the country.

ASHEVILLE, NC— Riverbend Malt House and a number of its brewing customers are excited to announce a lineup of specialty beers featuring the new Sunset Wheat Malt, in celebration of the malt house’s last decade in business. 

Earlier this month, Fonta Flora Brewery released the first of these beers, a Belgian Dark Strong-inspired ale affectionately named Bière de Riverbend. This bière, brewed with 100 percent Riverbend craft malt, was inspired by and adapted from the very first beer Fonta Flora ever put in bottles nearly six years ago. 

These world-class brewing companies will debut beers made with Riverbend’s 10 Year Harvest malt in coming weeks and months:

Bhramari Brewing Co., Rauch Weisse

DSSOLVR, Wheated Mild

Fullsteam Brewery, Winter IPA 

Green Man Brewery, Wheat Wine

Standard Beer + Food, Hefeweizen


Sunset Wheat is in stock and available for purchase, and Riverbend is eager to work with additional craft breweries on #Riverbend10 recipes featuring this malt. Place an order for Sunset Wheat by emailing orders@riverbendmalt.com.

Riverbend has published a 10 Year Harvest recipe, a Sunset Wheat-based Pale Ale.  Homebrewers across the Southeast are encouraged to create their own 10 Year Harvest Pale Ales to celebrate the past 10 years of Riverbend Malt and the craft malt community that the local malthouse has helped to create. Find the recipe here

Just in time for autumn, Riverbend Malt House welcomes a new sunset-hued malt variety into its portfolio. Sunset Wheat Malt is now available for purchase by brewers and distillers across the Southeast.

This new malt is rooted in the same high quality soft red winter wheat that we use for our flagship Appalachian Wheat. From there we explored a warmer kilning regime similar to a Munich-style. This technique uses large volumes of warm, moist air to develop the building blocks for color and flavor development. The result is a malt that is reminiscent of cookie dough finished with a dash of baking spice. 

“We’ve been exploring the flavor of Southern grown grains for a decade now, and Sunset Wheat marks the next chapter for us,” says Brent Manning, Co-Founder and Director of Product Development. “We know brewers and distillers are always on the lookout for something that is rich, complex, and still highly functional.” 

Sunset Wheat Malt weighs in at 9 SRM and 90 percent extract. Diastatic power is 108. Try this malt in a wide array of styles ranging from German Weisse beers to high gravity English-style ales.

Browse the Riverbend malt library here and place an order by emailing orders@riverbendmalt.com. All malt orders in October will include a free Riverbend 10 Year Harvest t-shirt, while supplies last. 

Riverbend Malt House is proud to announce its milestone of 100,000 pounds of rootlets repurposed for the nearby ecosystem of local farmers.

While not usable in the malting process, Riverbend sends the remaining husks— or rootlets— from each batch of malt to nearby farms to be repurposed as animal feed.

“This process completely closes the loop in terms of sustainability,” says Riverbend Malt House CEO Scott Hickman. “Consistent with our Malt With A Mission philosophy, kindness to the environment is important. If we create waste we want to turn it into a byproduct, or reduce the amount of waste created.”

In this case, the byproduct makes for happy cows at North Carolina farms like J4 Cattle Company in Morganton. “Our herd of steer eat close to a ton of rootlets every week. The young calves enjoy it too,” says owner Robin Jackson. “This has been a great partnership all the way around.”

Rootlet repurposing is one of Riverbend’s many tactics for lessening their environmental impact, which includes the reduction of 1,064,030 of CO2 in ten years through local sourcing within 500 miles of the malthouse.

Read the full press release here.

Riverbend Malt House today announced the successful completion of the first batch of barley malted on its new 10-tonne Germination Kiln Vessel (GKV) unit.

Read more in this press release.

Riverbend Malt House is featured as one of the “makers” in the documentary series Crafted now available on Amazon Prime.


Amazon Prime “Crafted” Season 2 featuring Riverbend Malt House now available

Riverbend Malt House has partnered with New Belgium Brewing on Old Tuffy Premium Lager, which now includes Riverbend’s Southern Select, a flavorful base malt produced with 2-row barley grown and malted in North Carolina.

“As a fourth generation alumni, I’ve wanted Riverbend to be a part of this beer since it was released,” says Brent Manning, Riverbend’s co-founder, “so it was really gratifying to have our malt included in the recipe.”

Press Release – New Belgium Partnership – Old Tuffy