A WORKING family farm in Fife has launched a craft malting business after securing a £500,000 funding package from HSBC UK.

Crafty Maltsters, which operates from A. Milne and Sons Farm on the outskirts of Auchtermuchty, has used the funding to purchase the equipment needed to produce local craft malt for Scotland’s brewers and distillers.

Alison Milne, a former commercial director at NFU Scotland, and her husband Daniel took over management of the farm from Daniel’s parents in 2014 and immediately looked for ways to diversify and add value to their enterprise.

This lead to the inception of Craft Maltsters. Alison said: “After studying the malting supply chain we spotted a gap in the market for small-scale malting providers that can guarantee quality, locally-sourced malt for brewers and distillers across Scotland.

“We want to help put small-scale malting at the forefront of ingredient supply chain and tell the story of Scotland’s grain-to-glass journey, as well as the value that malt brings to beers and spirits.

“Working with HSBC UK has been of huge benefit to us and we value the bank as a real partner in the business, challenging and working with us to make our business model stronger.”

The funding, which includes a new loan and overdraft facility, has also enabled the family to build a new 3000 sq ft on-site shed for additional grain storage and processing.

David Rhind, agriculture relationship director at HSBC UK, said: “We were impressed with Alison’s experience and expertise in the sector and, along with her family, she has clearly spotted an excellent business opportunity.

“HSBC UK is dedicated to supporting businesses of all sizes connected to Scotland’s burgeoning food and drink sector. We wish Alison and Crafty Maltsters every success in taking the business forward.”

Trade association Scotland Food and Drink has set a target of making brewing a £1 billion sector by 2030.

Malt is a core ingredient in beer and spirits and Crafty Maltsters hopes to establish a Scottish specialty malt brand that benefits from the boom in craft beers and distilling in Scotland.