Celebrating Women in Science

Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science
11th February 2022

Ever wondered how our food and drinks look and taste so good? It's not magic. It's science.  Well, with a little help from the magic ingredient of malt. We talked to Ebony-Rose Grant-Knox, who works for Muntons as a Laboratory Quality Control Analyst. She told us a little about why she chose a career in science.

Woman working in laboratory

Ebony-Rose Grant-Knox, Laboratory Quality Control Analyst

“I first got into science at school as I really enjoyed the practical side of it. Laboratories never felt intimidating to me and they presented an opportunity to answer questions with clear and categorical results.

Just like in my job at Muntons; every single malt extract is tested by me at several stages in our production process. Ensuring it has the ideal colour and qualities specific to the requirements of each of our customers. It’s amazing how very small variations in colour and concentration can lead to a dramatic change of colour and flavour in the finished product.  I’m proud to say that it doesn’t leave our site unless it is cleared as the best quality by our lab.

I’m really enjoying my role in the lab, especially the social side of working here - as part of a strong team. It is also pretty varied as our customers are ordering bespoke variations to suit new innovations all the time.

There is no set route for a career in science. I followed my love of science at ‘A’ level, to a BSc in Bio Medical Science and then onto a Masters in Applied Bio Science.

I don’t believe you ever stop learning and, here at Muntons, I hope to be supported further in my career. Perhaps even to do a PhD.”

To understand more about what malt can do in food and drink visit our ingredients pages. Click here

If you are interested in becoming a women in science with Muntons, have a look at our careers pages. Click here

Learning at Work Week 2021 - Kickstart Scheme at Muntons

New Team Members Join Muntons Thanks to Government Kickstart Scheme The Kickstart Scheme

Muntons, one of the country’s leading suppliers of brewing and distilling malts and malted ingredients, has joined Kickstart Scheme Logo forces with the Department for Work and Pensions, as a Kickstart Scheme Employer.

The scheme supports 16 to 24-year-olds who've been in long-term unemployment and are ordinarily reliant on Universal Credit, gain valuable work experience. Working 25 hours a week, they receive skills training while earning at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group.

Muntons' cohort of five new team members joined its Flamborough Maltings in Bridlington in May. Joining the 100-year business are: Jonathan Cocking, Production Cleaner; Jack Hewitson Engineering Storeman; Robbie McLoone, COVID Security Operator; Conar Miles, Production Cleaner; and Jamie Milner, COVID Security Operator.

Kickstart Scheme EmployeeJack Hewitson, 19

Jack had been unemployed since he graduated from the Scarborough University Technical College in 2020, with qualifications in manufacturing engineering. Working with his Job Centre Plus Work Coach, they introduced him to the vacancies that Muntons offered. “I was excited when I saw the roles and I actually applied for one of the other positions. However, Muntons gave me some positive feedback and offered me the Engineering Storeman role. Which, thinking about it, is better suited to my qualifications and career plans.

“I was nervous on my first day Muntons, but everybody has made me feel comfortable and part of the team. They’re all helping me get a better understanding of the business and the malt industry. I’m making some wonderful friendships, being well looked after and feeling part of the team."

“I’d definitely recommend the Kickstart Scheme to those who are in the position I was in. I'm so excited each day to clock onto my shift and learn new skills. It’s brilliant working for an international company right on our doorstep in Bridlington.”

Kickstart Scheme Employee at MuntonsJamie Milner, 24

Jamie's a COVID Security Operator and was unemployed for a year. “This last year was tough, and it’s hard to find a job when you haven’t got the hands-on experience or there are more people searching for jobs than there are the vacancies.

"Working in an office doesn’t appeal to me; the role excited me because I like the idea of a physical job in a factory and being more hands-on.

“Everybody I talk to here has been incredibly supportive and even though I’ve only been here a few weeks, I feel like I’m settling in well. I’m enjoying myself and glad to be working again.”

Jamie continues: “Each week, we get together and take part in the employability course, which sets a good foundation for the next step of the scheme of job hunting. We don’t like to think about it because we’re enjoying our time here, but everybody needs to understand how to use LinkedIn, keep our CVs updated and get used to the experience of applying for new roles. It’s a great help.”

Kickstart Scheme Employee at MuntonsConar Miles, 19

Also introduced to the Kickstart Scheme by his Job Centre Plus Work Coach, was Conar, who'd been out of work for a year following an injury. Having completed his plumbing and motor vehicle qualifications at college, he was keen to use some of those transferable skills at Muntons and joined as a COVID Security Operator. “I’m excited to come to the site; it doesn’t feel like I’m at work because I’m enjoying myself. Everybody’s great to work with and so supportive.

“On Fridays, we are learning skills for life. Things like how to behave in the workplace, keep our CVs updated and how to handle interviews may sound basic, but when you haven’t got the experience, it’s a great help to be guided through these things.

“I’d love to stay at Muntons once the programme ends. It has a great reputation of being a place you can work for life, and it’s great I’ve got this opportunity to show what I’m capable of.”

Conar says he’d recommend the Kickstart Scheme to those who are in a similar position as he was: “Having been out of work for so long, the Scheme is a great way to ease people like me back into work after so long. It’s not an overwhelming number of hours to work and I’m building my confidence up. In a few months, I know I’m going to be ready to progress to full time and permanent employment.”

Why Muntons Signed Up to the Kickstart Scheme

Ed Woodmansey, Compliance Operations Manager at the Muntons Flamborough Maltings in Bridlington, heads up the Kickstart Scheme.

“The job market has always been extremely competitive. With so many people facing job losses because of COVID-19 pressures, it’s harder than ever. It’s especially tough right now for young people and we’re keen to help where we can. We're always keen for the younger generation to join our industry and so we're pleased to encourage that. We hope the experience and teachings our new recruits receive will help them build their careers in these most challenging of times.”

Find out how Andrew's been learning on the job

Yeast Is A Brewer Too

In the current climate of Covid19 and national lockdown we at Muntons have been contacted by our partners in the brewing industry to support them with solutions to keep one of their most valuable employees alive. I’m of course speaking about every brewers’ house yeast, that needs to be fed with wort on a regular basis to ensure its vitality and cell count is always raring to go. In many breweries the management of the house yeast is a critical aspect of the business, with some breweries having reached generation numbers in the thousands.  


Several of our customers have been forced by the current circumstances to stop production of wort and beer. This situation has led to some brewers having to come in on a weekly basis to brew short runs just to keep the yeast fed. We have investigated the suggestions made by brewers, engaging our own experts in the fields of brewing and liquid malt extract production and have found our brewing extracts to be highly suitable for growing yeast. We are currently looking into the best setups to enable optimal yeast growth with a minimum amount of staff and time spent on site.  


A solution we are currently looking at is setting up a sterile FV next to a yeast management FV. The idea is to make a dilution of malt extract in water and boil it for 30minutes to ensure it is sterile. This solution could then be pumped into a sterilised FV via the heat exchange. The FV will need to be sealed to ensure no bacteria or wild yeast can enter. The temperature in this FV should be set to 5 -10C to keep the wort in good condition.  


A few hundred litres of wort could then be transferred via a clean pump and pipework to a second FV. If possible, the transfer would go via the oxygenation line to up the O2 level in the wort. This would then be left at 18 - 23 C for a 2-3 days this depends on every brewers’ house yeast behaviour. You will know how long your lag phase is before fermentation kicks in and how long fermentations tend to take to start dropping. To be more scientific, you can measure the gravity of the fermenting wort and when it starts dropping you will want to go to the next step. 


At this point we would suggest dropping the temperature to about 15C to slow down the yeast a bit and dropping out the fermenting wort until the yeast layer appears. Then after sanitising the equipment add more wort from the boiled wort tank into the yeast FV and give it another 2-3 days again you will know best how long your yeast will need. 


When the boiled wort tank runs out you should have a large volume of viable yeast that you can pack into you preferred yeast storage containers. You will be able to rack the yeast from a racking valve after dropping the fermented wort out of the system, thus removing the potential dangers off top cropping. This also requires far less volume in the tank as you won't need to fill the tank to the top. 


Pack some of the yeast into your standard yeast storage containers and then as soon as you reach the maximum cold storage time you are comfortable with, repeat the process.  

This process would enable a single person to keep the yeast going. It will also reduce the amount of time spent on site working alone and especially reduce the amount of time spent on ladders cropping yeast. 


The entire process can be run on a small scale should you have the equipment. This would also remove the requirement of boiling the dilution as you could make a new one every time you need to add oxygenated wort to the yeast. We will continue looking into ways of supporting our partners throughout the brewing industry in these difficult times to keep breweries and team members going with technical brewing support and creative new ways of applying our knowledge.

For more information on Muntons malts or if you have a technical brewing enquiry, then please contact marketing@muntons.com