Distilleries with Floor Maltings
The first stage of the whisky distillation process is to malt the barley. The barley is steeped in water and dried a number of times which “fools” the barley into thinking it is spring. It is then spread out on a wide floor – a Floor Maltings. As the barley germinates, heat is produced and the distillery workers regularly turn the barley in order to keep it at the optimum temperature to control germination. This process takes around 5 days but is dependent on the distillery and factors such as time of year and weather conditions The process is traditionally finished off through heating via the kiln.
In the 20th century, most of Scotland’s distilleries switched from malting in house to sourcing from large malting operations to achieve greater efficiencies. However a small number of Whisky Distilleries still use malting floors as part of their production process. You might also see the term written written in different ways e.g. Malt Floor.
There are eight distilleries still using Floor Maltings
- Balvenie Distillery in Dufftown, Speyside
- Benriach Distillery near Elgin, Speyside
- Laphroaig Distillery on Islay
- Bowmore Distillery on Islay
- Kilchoman Distillery on Islay
- Highland Park Distillery on Orkney
- Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown
- Glen Garioch Distillery in Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire
All these distilleries have maltings floor. They also all run distillery tours and the malting floor is often included as part of the distillery tour. However, they they might not be in use when you visit.
Glen Garioch Distillery is going back to the past and is in the process of reinstalling floor maltings. These are due to go into production in 2021. This will make for an enhanced distillery tour experience.
In addition Dallas Dhu Distillery, a mothballed distillery which is now a museum has a maltings floor. You can view this as part of a self guided tour.
As well as being a great part of any distillery tour, floor maltings allow for experimentation and small batch whisky production. Larger distilleries will probably still buy in malt as they in order to keep up with the demand from the production process.