The Irish Grain growers group are on the march again.
The group will now head to St. James’s Gate tomorrow, Tuesday, at 12 noon. The move is due to receiving no reply from their correspondence to Boortmalt and its farmer-owned parent company Axereal.
The Tillage group were dismayed with the Diageo/Guinness response to the situation in which they effectively washed their hands of the current crisis by saying that they have no direct dealings with farmers and they carry out their purchasing of malted barley with Boortmalt.
They even said that they do not set the price of the pint in the pubs when the group suggested that the price of the pint should drop by at least 10 cent due to the poor price of malting barley. The Irish Grain Growers repeated their call to have the price of the pint dropped by at least 10 cents for customers.
The Group are making it clear that Diageo effectively sets the price for malting barley as they buy most of the malt from Boortmalt. They say Diageo have huge buying power in the relationship and are profiting on the back of growers. They add that, the forward selling part of the current pricing model with Boortmalt applies to barley destined for Diageo. As this share of contracted barley was seventy percent in 2017, they say it is clear that Diageo’s claim that has no role whatsoever in negotiations regarding the price of malting barley is disingenuous at best.
They reference a quote from the Guinness website:
"It begins with barley. Barley sown in Irish soil and malted behind our famous gates. It's not an easy grain to grow, which is why we have relationships with farmers that span three generations."
The group say It would be a national scandal that the raw materials would have to be imported. They say this is the reality that Diageo/Guinness are facing. They state that "Guinness must realize that it is not 1759 in terms of time but high noon for malting barley growers".
The relationship and history between traditional Irish malting barley growers and Guinness will be lost the group also warn. They say this is a key marketing tool used by Diageo at present in the Guinness Storehouse and in advertising campaigns. The Irish Grain growers warn that the damage to brand Ireland would be incalculable.
The group are heading to the Guinness storehouse tomorrow, the biggest tourist destination in Ireland, where Irish farmers are used as part of the story of Guinness.
Members of the group handed in their letters today, to be given to Guinness/Diageo staff and will begin their protest tomorrow.