Ontario – In December Barn Owl Malt and Collective Arts Brewing received the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence in their respective regions. The award recognizes and celebrates agri-food producers, processors and organizations who are helping create jobs, boost the economy, strengthen our communities and support a sustainable environment through their innovative ideas and projects.
Barn Owl Malt – Hastings County
Great craft beer requires great malt and that’s where Barn Owl Malt comes in. Owners Devin and Leslie Huffman start with local barley and produce their aromatic malts in small batches. The key to their innovation is “floor malting” – a traditional process dating back to the 1800s that involves spreading steeped grain over a germination floor to give the final product a distinct, rich flavour. Floor malting uses one-third the water of standard, large-scale malting plants, and a specially designed septic system with bio-digester treats all the wastewater on site. This process has allowed for a new premium valued market for Ontario agricultural products, while offering local brewers a unique opportunity to produce four distinctive malts, each one traceable back to the grower.
Collective Arts Brewing Limited – Hamilton Region
At Collective Arts, the art of brewing isn’t limited to the beer. The brewery founders figured that creativity begets creativity, so they teamed up with emerging and seasoned artists, musicians, photographers and filmmakers. Each of their cans features limited edition art. When customers scan the label, they can hear original music, watch a video or check out an artist’s bio as they sip fine Ontario craft beer. And the creativity doesn’t stop there. All kinds of talent is showcased in the brewery’s 400-person music venue/art gallery/tap room, providing a connection between creative arts and local craft beer. In 2016, Collective Arts launched Local Press Cider, Apple & Cherry Cider, Pear Saison and Crabapple Press Cider. This year, Juniper & Lemon joined the lineup.