Barley growing in Northern Montana.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) has released its list of recommended malting barley varieties to U.S. growers. The list is meant to inform U.S. producers which malting barley varieties the industry intends to use in the upcoming year.

AMBA is a nonprofit trade association of 76 brewing, distilling and malting companies that are end users of U.S. malting barley.

The organization does not release state-specific recommendations, as most all malting barley is now contracted by companies that select the varieties they prefer.

“Growers in Montana don’t have to worry about choosing varieties,” said AMBA Vice President and Technical Director Scott Heisel. “The customer base and region determine which varieties the companies use.”

In addition, some varieties will be used in large quantities and others only in niche markets. Producers are encouraged to contact their local elevator, grain handler or processor to gauge market demand for any variety grown in their region prior to seeding.

Last year in Montana, nearly 60 percent of barley acreage was classified as ‘unknown,’ meaning it was planted with open market malting barley, food and feed varieties, according to AMBA’s 2018 Barley Variety Survey. Then, from highest percentage to lowest, the 2018 Montana varieties were as follows: AC Metcalfe, BC100, Moravian 165, Hockett, ABI Voyager, Merit 57, Expedition, CDC Copeland, Conrad, Legacy, AAC Synergy, Explorer and Full Pint.

There are several changes from the 2018 list. The two-row varieties Harrington and Propino are being dropped from the list and four two-row varieties are being added: ABI Growler, Bill Coors 100, Moravian 165 and Thunder.

ABI Growler is a two-rowed, mid-season, spring barley developed by Busch Agricultural Resources, Ft. Collins, Colo. Bill Coors 100 and Moravian 165 are two-rowed, spring varieties bred by Molson Coors in Burley, Idaho. Bill Coors 100 was released in 2016 in celebration of Bill Coors’ 100th birthday. Thunder is a two-rowed, winter variety released by Oregon State University and has performed very well in the Pacific Northwest.

“The new varieties all have improved agronomic characteristics,” Heisel said.

With these changes from last year, the list of recommended malting barley varieties for 2019 is as follows:


• AAC Synergy

• Charles*

• Hockett

• ND Genesis

• ABI Growler

• Conlon

• LCS Genie

• Newdale

• ABI Voyager

• Conrad

• Merit 57

• Pinnacle

• AC Metcalfe

• Endeavor*

• Moravian 37

• Puffin*

• Bill Coors 100

• Expedition

• Moravian 69

• Scarlett

• CDC Copeland

• Explorer

• Moravian 165

• Thunder*


• Celebration

• Lacey

• Quest

• Thoroughbred*

• Innovation

• Legacy

• Stellar-ND

• Tradition

*Winter varieties