In recent years, regional Australia has enjoyed a resurgence including a genuine desire for Australia’s consumers to understand the origins of their food and to buy local if possible. With the Australian craft beer industry also growing significantly, Paul McGorman started to explore the idea of “craft” malt production including single origin, regionally produced, malted to spec, or combinations of all of these.
Paul is a broadacre producer from South Australia with production based on Kangaroo Island as well as South Australia’s mainland. Kangaroo Island’s food credentials see it well placed to produce artisan food with broad market appeal.
Paul applied for Farmer2Founders’ Ideas Program as he needed a structured approach to further explore this value-added opportunity. The Lean Startup methodology and supporting Lean Canvas enabled Paul to refine his proposition and identify the critical partnerships he would need to succeed.
Without a physical product, Paul has spent a significant part of the program interviewing potential customers and stakeholders across the value chain, applying learnings, and concept testing for desirability. This has given Paul a far greater understanding of the consumer, the different markets for craft malt, and the stakeholders within each market.
I found the program valuable as it really forced me to look hard at my assumptions and questioned my personal desire to firstly create a product to take to the unknown market, instead of flipping this on its head to initially find out if there is a market and what does this market actually want. I can see that this approach will save me a huge amount of time, costs and frustrations.
Since commencing the program, Kangaroo Island’s young beer and spirit industry has shown positive signs of growth with a desire to expand significantly. Paul’s industry emersion has allowed him to establish strategic relationships within this local industry and is creating options for the role that he can play. This has allowed Paul to build his short term goals which include:
▪ Completion of local agronomic trials. More than 30 Ha of malting barley has been sown on Paul’s Kangaroo Island property. This includes a range of varieties and the application of different regenerative practices.
▪ Building further industry understanding through interviews with micro maltsters.
▪ Convening an advisory board that includes executives from the malting industry.
▪ Prioritisation of the end-user group – Whiskey vs craft beer.
▪ Scenario planning with supporting business models. Includes supporting the development of Kangaroo Island’s beer and spirit industry through investment through building and operating an island-based craft malthouse.