How barley for beer is going to be traced along its supply chain from paddock to pint


Ten South Australian barley growers are to take part in a pilot project to trace their grain from paddock to pint following increased demand for place-of-origin labelling. 

The traceability pilot project will see data recorded at each stage of the supply chain from on-farm, to transport, to bottling. 

Crucial to the trial, beer lovers will soon see QR codes on bottles and cans from Coopers Brewery that reflects that information. 

Grain Producers SA (GPSA) chief executive Brad Perry said the move was about proving place of origin. 

“We’ll be able to say, ‘that is my barley in that Coopers’ beer’ and that will be qualified and quantified,” he said. 

GPSA has put the call out for growers to take part in this current season trial.

Demand for traceability 

Mr Perry said it was not just Australians pushing for place-of-origin labelling. 

“A lot of our international markets are demanding more and more traceability,” he said. 

“They want you to be able to prove exactly where the product has come from, right down to those that have grown [it].”  

Agtech traceability company Trust Provenance, along with Coopers Brewery and grain traders ADM Trading Australia are taking part in the trial. 

A close of shot of someone pulling a beer from a tap into a schooner
Consumers have been asking for provenance information on beer.(ABC News: Sophie Johnson)

Coopers brewery maltings manager Doug Stewart said the program would improve the quality of data they collected. 

“We might be able to do a special batch of malt or we might do a special batch of beer to be from a certain area,” he said. 

“We can have absolute certainty this is coming from a certain region.” 

Grower Mark Schilling has been looking at tracing his grain for a number of years. 

“We can track something. We know where that paddock of grain or that bin of grain has gone from on that truck and into that silo,” he said. 

“But you get overloaded with data. Whereas, if it’s on a platform that you can trust, well it’s happy days.”

How it works 

Trust Provenance uses blockchain technology to capture the product’s journey through the supply chain. 

Chief executive Andrew Grant said each batch of barley would have a unique ID.

By scanning the QR code on the packaging, end users would be able to see the ‘touch points’ at each stage of processing. 

“Down to the point where you can understand what farmer or region it comes from, and then details around that as well,” he said. 

Farmer's hand feels ripe yellow barley
An added benefit to the pilot project is increased biosecurity.(ABC: Bec Whetham)

Mr Grant said the information collected would be stored securely.

“Farmers and the supply chain are aware of what information is being shared with who, when, to where [and] why,” he said. 

“All of the data points we collect are aligned with what we call GS1, which is the global standards for communicating between organisations.

“To make sure that the information that’s been provided to the public aligns with everyone’s expectations and aligns with what people are willing to disclose.” 

Biosecurity benefits

According to Mr Perry, increased biosecurity was an added benefit to the pilot project. 

“The only way to get back to the sources of what is happening in biosecurity and being able to respond quickly, even in plants, is by tracing it,” he said. 

“Having that data and information available helps a quick response from all parties involved in a biosecurity matter.”  


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