By Wayne Moore
Karl DeJonge started Gallatin Valley Malt on his family’s farm nestled in Montana's picturesque Gallatin Valley. While the farm's primary focus has always been seed potato production, they have also been cultivating barley for several years. In 2017, Karl made the bold decision to venture into malting, using their own barley. They built their own equipment, a separate steep, germination, and kiln system, initiating malting and becoming a reliable supplier to several local area breweries.
In mid-2019, Karl approached us with the idea of enhancing their operation by introducing controls and automation. We installed and started up the control system in March 2020 (yes, right in the thick of the Covid mess).
Fast forward to mid-2021, Karl reached out once again, recognizing the need to expand their system due to overwhelming demand. After thorough deliberation, it was decided to adhere to their existing malting approach (separate steeping, germination, and kilning). We set out to design the most extensive system feasible within the confines of their current building.
Innovative solutions, such as removable leg sections for the steep tank, were incorporated to accommodate the installation within their facility. The end result was a 10-ton (incoming) capacity system with room for future expansion. It was a close call during the kiln design phase, as they had to meticulously remove the spray-on insulation from one roof beam to assemble the kiln box. After addressing delays in securing power and natural gas connections, we successfully initiated the system in June of this year.
Karl and his head maltster, Heather Sargent, have been exceptional partners to collaborate with throughout this journey. We anticipate their business will continue to thrive, and who knows, perhaps in the next couple of years, we'll be working on expanding their capacity once again!
Learn more about Gallatin Valley Malt on their website.