Borders Growers & Distillers partnership launches

Borders Growers & Distillers partnership launches

Representatives from Simpsons Malt and the 12 farming businesses visited The Borders Distillery for a tour and tasting

13 February 2022

The Borders Distillery, Simpsons Malt Ltd and 12 farming businesses in the Scottish Borders have come together to form Borders Growers & Distillers – a long-term partnership showcasing traceability of the malting barley supply chain from seed to spirit.

The 12 growers will supply high-quality malting barley to Simpsons Malt, who will in turn move, store and then produce distilling malt and subsequently deliver it to The Borders Distillery in Hawick. All of the farms are located within a 30-mile radius of the distillery, and are verified ‘Gold’ by the Farm Sustainability Assessment, meaning that they are able to demonstrate they use first-class sustainable farming practices.

At the start of each season, each grower will receive their certified malting barley seed from McCreath Simpson & Prentice, the agricultural merchanting division of Simpsons Malt Ltd, whose fully licensed seed-processing plant is located at the company’s Tweed Valley Maltings headquarters in Berwick-upon-Tweed. Founded in 1862, Simpsons Malt is itself an independent, family-owned business and a Certified B Corporation.

As with all Simpson Malt’s activities, the supply chain is fully mapped, traceable and UK-based: after harvest, the barley will be moved from the farms to a designated barley store at the company’s Craigswalls Grain Store, located between Chirnside and Duns in the Scottish Borders. Following a period in storage, the barley will then be transported ten miles east to Simpsons Malt’s Tweed Valley Maltings for malt production, before the finished product is delivered to The Borders Distillery.

Once at the distillery, The Borders team will mill, mash and distil this homegrown barley to create their award-winning Puffing Billy Steam Vodka and Kerr’s Borders Gin, as well as their future single malt – the first to be produced in the Scottish Borders since 1837. ⁠

Two weeks ago, Borders Growers & Distillers was officially launched with representatives from the 12 farming businesses, as well as their MSP Farm Traders, descending on the distillery for a tour and spirit tasting to get an insight into how the malting barley they grow is used as malt in spirit production. A commemorative cask dedicated to the newly-founded group was filled.

Tim McCreath, Simpsons Malt’s managing director, said: “We are thrilled to have been able to assist The Borders Distillery with the launch of Borders Growers & Distillers. Through our unique company infrastructure comprising merchanting, grain storage and malting, we are able to offer complete visibility throughout the malting barley supply chain and, from seed to still, the entire process is happening within a 40-mile radius.”

John Fordyce, The Borders Distillery’s managing director, added, “We are delighted to be collaborating with Simpsons Malt and these 12 Scottish Borders farms with the aim of creating a long-term partnership united in securing the future of the rural economy in the years to come. ⁠Moving forward, Borders Growers & Distillers will work together to produce outstanding products in a rapidly changing and challenging environment, and it’s incredibly important and powerful to us for our consumers to know that the spirits they are drinking are made from locally-sourced raw materials.”

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