The ale on the other hand, was not of the high quality we associate with the brewing industry of today. Brewers relied on the timelines of sailing ships carrying malt from the other side of the globe. Joe White, his family and colleagues, witnessed this desperate state of affairs and set in motion to provide a local alternative.

Joe White’s father, Alexander, who was a trained maltster, joined forces with Henry Cane who had been malting in Ballarat since 1858. Under Alexander’s watch, at the age of 19, Joe paid his dues at the malthouse. Like all new employees he would sweep the floors, feed the hoppers, operate the revolving screens, filled, sewed up, and carried the four and a half bushel bags. Only 4 years into training in 1892, at just 23 years old, Joe had to step up and take the reins of the business. He thrived as a leader, and two years later, a new malthouse stood proudly on Gregory Street in Ballarat.

Joe White Maltings’ experience and expertise with manufacturing coloured and specialty malts stretches back almost 100 years. The company’s first roaster was installed in Collingwood in 1926 and the Joe White maltsters have not looked back since. Their wealth of knowledge lives on in the Specialty Malt Plant, with its state of the art roasters in Joe White Maltings’ spiritual home of Ballarat. It serves today’s brewers and distillers as they create new and innovative products, and stands as a proud reminder of Joe White Maltings key role in the development of truly great Australian beer.

The first boom of the Australian brewing industry coincided with Victoria’s gold rush in the early 1850s. Previously quiet regional centers saw a sudden influx of miners; towns such as Ballarat were awash with men with a thirst for good fortune, and for good ale.