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Facilities - Waterloo Malthouse

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In the early 1990s try as we might, we simply couldn't make enough malt to keep up with the rapidly growing U.S. craft brewing industry. So we did what anyone else would have. We bought another malthouse.

Just the right size

Of course, being a specialty malting company meant we didn't want a large malthouse that churns out massive amounts of commodity base malt. As luck would have it, a malthouse just a little over a stone's throw away from our Chilton, Wisconsin, location came up for sale.

Its size fit our needs quite well, so the late Roger Briess purchased the malthouse in Waterloo, Wisconsin, about a 2 hour drive from Chilton.

Originally built in 1902, just a year after the Chilton malthouse had been built, the Waterloo malthouse experienced some difficulties in its early years including financial problems and a fire that completely destroyed it in 1907. More fires and other difficulties lead to its closure throughout all of Prohbition.

Let the good times roll

The end of Prohibition of 1933 spelled good times for the Waterloo malthouse, which was remodeled, expanded and began operating again. The facility again changed hands and underwent several renovations prior to its purchase by Briess in 1995.

Two years after purchasing it, a new roasting operation with multiple drum roasters was built directly next to the Waterloo malthouse, making the Waterloo malting operation capable of producing the entire line of Briess specialty malts.

In 2005, supply was outpacing demand for malt and the Waterloo malthouse was closed. In 2008, after setting idle for three years, Briess re-commissioned the malthouse, after an extensive remodeling project, in response to increased demand for malt.

In reopening the malthouse, Director of Malting Operations Dave Kuske said, “We recognized the shift in supply and demand on a global scale. And we recognized the supply shortages this could cause to smaller, craft breweries. Our focus is the North American craft brewing industry, and we want to assure an adequate supply of specialty malts for them.”

“The Waterloo facility is unique in the flexibility it provides us,” Briess President Chief Operating Officer Gordon Lane said at the time the malthouse reopened. “The plant is capable of producing a wide range of specialty malted products. And we’re also pleased that a number of skilled malthouse operators rejoined the company which made it possible to produce immediately after renovations were completed.”

Today, the Briess malthouse in Waterloo is operating at capacity. Other features at the plant include railroad service for cost effective transportation of raw materials and finished goods, and an environmentally friendly waste water treatment system.

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