Chivas Brothers in sustainable barley venture

Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky business of Pernod Ricard,has announced a new agriculture programme supporting sustainable farming practices among Scottish barley growers represented by Bairds Malt and Scotgrain.

The pilot programme is a collaboration between Chivas Brothers, Bairds Malt, malt producer for the brewing and distilling industry in the UK and internationally, and Scotgrain, the leading agricultural merchant covering supply of arable inputs, agronomy, procurement & marketing of grains, oilseeds and pulses.

The brands of Chivas Brothers include Chivas Regal, Aberlour, Ballantine’s, Royal Salute, The Glenlivet. Chivas Brothers is the world’s No.2 Scotch whisky producer .

“The partnership has been established with a view to working collaboratively to facilitate and further the continuous improvement on farm, and to help future-proof the livelihoods of farmers in regional Scottish communities,” said Chivas Brothers.

“It is also intended to help secure the supply of barley — a critical ingredient in the whisky making process — and reduce Chivas Brothers’ indirect carbon footprint.

“Roughly a third of Chivas Brothers’ carbon footprint comes from the growing and processing of its agricultural raw materials — including the manufacturing of fertiliser, production of barley and malting.”

Chivas Brothers is one of the biggest purchasers of malted barley in Scotland — the majority of which it sources from Bairds Malt — underscoring the significance of this project.

The pilot programme, named the Dalmunach Growers Pilot Group, will run over a three to five-year period and is initially comprised of eight farmers who have voluntarily elected to be a part of the first on-farm trial.

In addition to carbon emissions reduction, trials will cover various approaches both to improvements in soil health — to create a more resilient growing process — and biodiversity, from fertiliser use and cover-cropping to wildflower strips.

Ronald Daalmans, Environmental Sustainability Manager at Chivas Brothers, said: “Establishing partnerships with our growers represents a critical moment in Chivas Brothers’ sustainability journey.

“The ongoing impact of climate change means our growers are having to adapt their practices — and many are faced with tough decisions regarding sustainable practices because it is cost prohibitive to implement new techniques without certainty of how they’ll affect crops through the growing cycle.

“Working together makes us stronger – not only to reduce carbon emissions at pace, but also to provide invaluable insights that can benefit the farming community at large.”

Victoria Buxton, Agronomist and Farm Business Manager at Bairds Malt, said: “We’re incredibly excited to have partnered with Chivas Brothers to establish a programme with our growers that looks at sustainable farming practices through on-farm carbon reduction, soil health and biodiversity.

“To have the support of Chivas Brothers reinforces that climate change is an issue that affects the whole supply chain and we’re all equally invested.”

Learnings and insights will be shared with the full cohort of roughly 60 farmers under the Bairds Malt and Scotgrain communities at regular Growers Group meetings, fostering knowledge-sharing for the betterment of the programme and each other’s operations.