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Finnish malt profits from 'midnight sun.' (Lahden Polttimo Oy's Lahti's malting)

Finnish malt profits from 'midnight sun'

Round-the-clock daylight in most of Finland during summer goes straight to the kernels of its barley crop. The flavor effect, growers report, is unique and said to add a desirable taste quality to beer.

As a result, brewers in more than 20 countries--Scotland, USSR, Japan, Brazil, the U.S., Norway and others--purchase malt from Finland.

Finland lies entirely north of the 60-degree latitude, meaning that it has a shorter growing season than its more southern neighbors, but that the sun is above the horizon for a very large part of the summer, even at night.

"This factor of 24-hour sunlight gives a nuance to the flavor of many plants which cannot be equaled anywhere else and, we believe, creates a clear advantage for malt beverages," explained Mikko Maunula, managing director, Lahden Polttimo Oy (Lahti's maltings).

The firm, which started in the 19th century, is today one of the largest malt-makers in Northern Europe, producing approximately 150 million pounds a year. The Swedish Nord-Malt company works in close cooperation with Lahden Polttimo and provides an additional 70 million pounds of production capacity.

"The malt we manufacture is from Finnish six- and two-row barley," Maunula said. "When we first began to make it, we secured raw grain by signing exclusive agreements with a few farmers. Today, we have about 3,000 farmers under contract and the maltings' annual consumption of barley is the output equivalent of an area of (75,000 acres)."

An additional flavor enhancement for the malt, Maunula reported, is provided by the company's seven days of germination during the malting process instead of the usual five or six days.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Dec 10, 1990
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