Each beer is brewed using its own unique blend of finished malts.


Breweries must be assured the barley malts they buy are the correct varieties, at sufficient purity levels, to impart the right combination of flavors to the finished beer. If the finished beer is below standard, the brewer will want to know why his supply chain has failed to deliver the right ingredients for his product.

Brewers using Canadian malting barley must be confident they are buying malts that are correctly described, in terms of variety and purity. This is especially true for overseas buyers, who must also consider the high costs of shipping when purchasing malting barley from Canada. It is therefore important for barley growers and grain handlers to find ways to verify the authenticity of their product.

To protect economic operators along the Canadian malting barley supply chain from the negative effects of inaccurately labeled malts, SGS has commercialized the DNA-based, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker testing service. This is one of several services we offer to the Canadian barley industry to help with identification and purity quantification. Tests are conducted in high-tech laboratories and can be undertaken on 92, 184 or 368 kernels/samples, depending on the requirements of the client.

The SNP marker testing service uses variety-specific assays and high-throughput DNA extraction methods to provide rapid, reliable and cost-effective results to help the Canadian barley industry guarantee the quality of its product. Regular turn-around time is five business days, but a 48-hour rapid service and a same day service are available.

The Canadian market

Malting barley remains a key crop for the Canadian farming industry. The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) estimates that 2.2 million metric tons of malting barley are grown every year, with over 50% of the crop going to maltsters. Over 65% of the malt produced is then exported, predominantly to the US, Japan, South Korea and Mexico. In 2015, Canada exported over 575,000 metric tons of malt, valued at over $435 million. It is predicted that exports will continue to grow as production and demand increases in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Our Canadian agriculture and food testing laboratories provide a one-stop-shop solution for all malting barley testing requirements. In addition to purity assessments, we also offer grain grading and testing for a wide range of factors, including mycotoxins and GMO material.

Working with SGS will help economic operators on the malting barley supply chain create greater confidence in their product, improve quality assurance, and decrease commercial risk.

For the complete range of SGS services and support visit SGS Food Safety.

For further information, please contact:

Tajinder Grewal Ph D, P Ag 
Agriculture and Food Scientist 
t: +1 306 934 3559