The Irish Grain Growers, while welcoming the drinks industry’s desire to increase the use of Irish malting barley, believes the industry must step up to the plate to make this happen.

“We as a country, should be aiming to have the drinks industry as valuable as the dairy industry”, said Miller, “with Whiskey tourist trails an integral part of this target post-COVID-19.”

“The reality remains that growing barley crops for the likes of Boortmalt and the Malting Company of Ireland comes with risks,” he added.

IGG wants more flexibility on protein levels, calling on Boortmalt to move to a limit of 9.8% for distilling barley and 11.4% for brewing.

Miller criticised Boortmalt’s sub-contracting or franchising out of malting barley through independent merchants: “Surely this is making a mockery of longstanding committed growers who could be told their contracts are cut as they are on the point of sowing,” he said.