|Photo credit: Virginia Grain Producers Association|
Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced that Pilot Malt House Virginia, LLC (dba Pilot Malt House) will locate its second artisan craft malting operation in Loudoun County. The company will invest nearly $1 million to construct and operate the facility and create seven new jobs. In addition, Pilot Malt House will purchase more than 2 million pounds of Virginia-grown barley, wheat and rye over the next three years. The Commonwealth secured the project during the 2015 Craft Brewers Convention, where Virginia had a significant presence, in Portland, Oregon, this past April.
Speaking about the announcement, Governor McAuliffe stated, “This is a significant win for the Commonwealth as it fills a need for current and future craft brewers and builds on my administration’s efforts to make Virginia the East Coast leader in the fast-growing craft beer industry. The attraction of Pilot Malt House to Loudoun County represents another step in strengthening Virginia’s agricultural economy and building the infrastructure for our booming craft beverage industry. This project, with its capital investment, new jobs being created, and commitment to sourcing locally, represents another economic win for this region. My administration is committed to fully using our diverse agriculture industry, one of the Commonwealth’s greatest assets, to help build the new Virginia economy.”
Founded in Michigan in 2011, Pilot Malt House is an artisan malt house that uses locally grown grains and a mix of traditional and modern processing techniques to produce a variety of base, specialty, and custom malts. The company will work directly with Virginia producers to source more than 2 million pounds of Virginia grains – 75% of total grain purchases over the next three years – creating new markets for Virginia barley, wheat and rye. Pilot Malt House currently supplies malt, an important ingredient in beer, to several Michigan and national breweries. The company plans to work with Virginia’s craft brewers, home brewers, and distilleries to sell its distinct and quality malts.
“This unique facility in Loudoun County represents another step forward for Virginia as we cement our reputation as key players in the nation’s fast-growing craft beer industry, which saw sales increase by more than 22 percent from 2013 to 2014,” said Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “Pilot Malt House’s investment also enhances the Commonwealth’s position in the industry, which has an economic impact of nearly $625 million, by providing a new market for Virginia’s grain producers and a new supply of locally grown and processed malt for Virginia’s craft beverage industry. Craft beer is contributing positively to the economies of big cities and rural communities across the Commonwealth, adding to the Governor’s call to build a New Virginia Economy.”
Erik May, Owner of Pilot Malt House, added, “Pilot Malt House is excited for the opportunity to expand to Loudoun County, Virginia. The Governor of Virginia has made a commitment to agricultural businesses, and we couldn’t be happier to be expanding our Michigan operation into Northern Virginia. The Loudoun County team has been a dream to work with, and we are appreciative of their hard work and dedication to expanding Virginia agribusiness. Pilot Malt House, since its inception, has existed to connect farms to breweries and distilleries. We will provide the best quality malt to Virginia breweries and distilleries made from Virginia-grown grain made by Virginia-raised folks in a truly Virginia facility.”
Pilot Malt House’s new processing capacity will enable existing Virginia grain producers to grow their production and encourage new producers to enter the market by filling a gap in the supply chain. In addition to supporting current and prospective grain producers, the facility will benefit Virginia’s craft beer industry by increasing the amount of quality malt produced in the state, allowing brewers to capitalize on the terroir of Virginia.
“I am very appreciative for the major investment that Pilot Malt House is making in Loudoun, almost $1 million in their building and equipment and more than $300,000 buying Virginia-grown grains. Loudoun has a vital and growing rural economy, and Pilot Malt House fills an important role and is a welcome resource for our farms and businesses,” said Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott K. York.
“Pilot Malt House will close the missing link in Loudoun’s farm brewery industry. We will now have the ability to malt locally-grown grain right here in our county. Pilot Malt House will allow more investment to stay in Loudoun and will ensure that Virginia’s craft beer industry is heavily rooted in Loudoun’s rural economy,” said Loudoun Economic Development Director Buddy Rizer.
The Commonwealth is partnering with Loudoun County and Pilot Malt House on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Governor McAuliffe approved a $19,500 grant from the AFID Fund to assist with the project, which Loudoun County is matching with local grant funds.