Karl Dingemans checks his email while a whole bunch of Dingemans in the photograph behind him look on. Karl is the fifth generation of his family to malt barley since Mouterij Dingemans started in 1875.
Belgium is home to five malteries. Based in the port of Antwerp, Boortmalt is the biggest malting plant in the world, with an annual production of 310,000 tons a year. Mouterij Albert malts exclusively for the Heineken group, producing 275,000 tons a year. The third biggest is Cargill, which malts 115,000 tons annually from its plant in Herent.
Mouterij Dingemans, which is based in Stabroek, and Castle Maltings, the only Walloon malthouse, are the two smallest, producing around 30,000 tons per year each and focusing in particular on providing specialty malts to brewers.
"It's a craft," Karl says. "We feel it in our fingers. The fact that the family name is on the door is important for our customers."