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In the 19th century, the area where our malt house is located belonged to the village of Główna. In 1880, at what was then Piaskowa Street (now Sucha Street), a brickyard of the Jarecki brothers was established. Its activity was interrupted in the 1920s when the excavation and the equipment left there were flooded by underground waters. The property was purchased by the joint-stock company Poznańskie Zakłady Chemiczne Kazimierz Chmielewski Towarzystwo Akcyjne (chemical works), which launched the production of washing powder.

In 1926, after the village of Główna was incorporated into Poznań, the property at 18 Sucha Street was taken over by the joint-stock company Browary Huggera Towarzystwo Akcyjne (Hugger Brewery). In addition to the beer brewing plant at Półwiejska Street, the company owned, among others, the malt house at the intersection of Głogowska and Śniadeckich Streets. However, this area was allocated to the General National Exhibition marking the 10th anniversary of regaining independence, and malt production had to be moved to another place. Thus, the largest and most modern malt house in Poland at that time was located at Sucha Street. In the period of economic prosperity after World War I, it was supposed to produce malt for dynamically developing breweries at home and abroad (export was assumed mainly to the United States).

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Between 1926 and 1928, a five-storey main building was erected with a three-floor kiln by Topf, floor storage facilities for barley and malt, and a steeping room with 4 steeping vats. The premises of the brickyard and chemical plant were converted into Saladin boxes. On the eastern side, a drum building was erected, where 4 Galland drums from the liquidated malt house at Śniadeckich Street were moved. The existing chimney was used to build a cereal coffee roasting facility. The malt house was supposed to produce approx. 2,800 tonnes of barley malt annually.

The new malt house was fully mechanized. The heart of the plant were 2 pneumatic pumps driven by 34kWh electric motors. Through a system of leather conveyor belts, they activated all devices in the main building. Pneumatic conveying system transferred barley to the storage facilities at a rate of 6 tonnes per hour, and green malt from Saladin boxes to the kiln at 2 tonnes per hour. Probably because of these technical innovations, the plant became known as Pneumatic Malt House.

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The Great Depression of the 1930s brought a market downturn, a decline in production and a change of ownership. The malt house was taken over by the joint-stock company Chemiczna Fabryka Dr Roman May Spółka Akcyjna (chemical works), which had been a shareholder of the enterprise since 1926. However, the new owners failed to implement their plans for international expansion and found themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. In 1937, the plant was purchased and merged with the Hugger Brewery under the name Browar Związkowy Związku Restauratorów (Associated Brewery of the Restaurant Owners’ Association).

In September 1939, the malt house came under German management and until 1944 it supplied local breweries with malt. The only significant investment during the German occupation was the connection of the railway siding tracks to the main building. As a result of artillery fire during the Red Army offensive in January 1945, the malt house was seriously damaged. After the plant was taken over by the previous owners, i.e. the Restaurant Owners’ Association in Poznań, its reconstruction began. Due to the lack of funds, the work was mostly carried out by malt house employees, who received payment mainly in kind, including barley and cereal coffee left in the warehouse. Production was resumed in October 1945. In September 1948, the malt house was nationalized and renamed Państwowa Słodownia Pneumatyczna w Poznaniu (State Pneumatic Malt House in Poznań). In 1950, it became part of Poznańskie Zakłady Piwowarsko-Słodownicze (Poznań Brewing and Malting Works), which in 1971 was renamed as Wielkopolskie Zakłady Piwowarsko-Słodownicze (Greater Poland Brewing and Malting Works), and in 1976 as Zakłady Piwowarskie w Poznaniu (Brewing Works in Poznań).

The years 1948-1956 were a period of increased investment activities for the malt house. The following were built and put into operation: further 4 steeping vats, the second kiln by Topf, another 4 Saladin boxes, silo warehouses for 7,000 tonnes of grain with an operating tower, the second line of the railway siding branching with access to the silo building, the transformer station, 3 coal bunkers with a total capacity of about 500 tonnes, the shipping ramp, the new well, etc. The investments brought a significant increase in production. At the end of the 1950s, the malt house produced over 4,500 tonnes of malt, of which nearly 30 percent was exported.

Changes in analysis methodology introduced by the European Brewery Convention entailed the need to implement new standards and procedures to meet quality requirements. In connection with the intended increase in the production of malt for export, the malt house opened its own laboratory in 1954 (until then, all analyses were carried out in the laboratory at Półwiejska Street), which was equipped with the most modern equipment at that time. The demand for qualified laboratory staff has also increased. Compliance with the quality requirements of individual batches of malt was thoroughly controlled by inspectors of the Central Inspectorate for Standardization.

The investments between 1958 and 1961 included, among others, further 4 Saladin boxes, 2 additional steeping vats, the cooling engine room for summer air conditioning and the boiler room for winter air conditioning. The discovery of the properties of gibberellic acid revolutionized the malting industry at that time. Studies have shown that the use of even a minimal amount of gibberellic acid results in a significant shortening of the malting process with an overall improvement in the quality parameters of malt. In order to take advantage of the new development opportunities, the malt house needed, among other things, a more modern and efficient kilning room. However, due to the fact that decisions were made at the central level, and the concepts of development of the industry often changed, the plant did not receive funds for the planned expansion. In 1962-1982, only the railway siding was renovated. The production volume in the 1970s was at the level of 6,500 tonnes. A significant part of the produced malt (usually 50 to 70 percent) was intended for export. Malt was sent to breweries in Europe (including Belgium, Denmark, East and West Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, the Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Yugoslavia), Africa (including Chad, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone), Asia (including Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam) and South America (including Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela). The largest recipients of the Pneumatic Malt House’s production were the European corporations Heineken and Carlsberg, and the Japanese Kirin, Asahi and Sapporo. In 1974-1975, the Pepsi-Cola Factory was built on the premises of the plant, which took over part of the staff of the malt house (in 1995 it was transformed into Lech Napoje Sp. z o.o., in 1998 it was liquidated).

In the 1980s, there was a significant decrease in production (to the level of about 4,000 tonnes) and a halt in the export of malt. The structure of deliveries has also changed. Due to the declining importance of rail transport and the increasing percentage of deliveries carried out using road transport, the time-consuming and energy-intensive pneumatic unloading was abandoned in favour of mechanical unloading. Therefore, a decision was made to build an unloading point with a chute, a vehicle tippler and screw conveyors.

Parliamentary elections in 1989 and the new political environment initiated the process of economic transformation, i.e. the transition from a centrally planned economy to a free-market economy. The changes also affected the brewing and malting industry, including the Brewing Works in Poznań. In 1992, a company wholly owned by the State Treasury under the name Lech Browary Wielkopolski SA was established, and in 1993 it was privatised. In 1995, South African Breweries (SAB) became the strategic investor of the company. In 1999, the companies belonging to SAB, Lech Browary Wielkopolski SA and Browary Tyskie Górny Śląsk SA, were merged into one company under the name of Kompania Piwowarska SA. The plants that were part of the former state-owned enterprise were generally transformed into separate companies, but not all of them found their place in the new reality. In July 1997, the Pneumatic Malt House was closed and put up for sale. In August 1997, it was leased, and then, in December 1997, sold to Optima Sp. z o.o. from Ostrów Wielkopolski. The company’s management implements the strategy of gradual modernization of the machine park and systematic increase of the production capacity of the plant. In 2022, New Business Sp. z o.o. became the majority shareholder of the company. Currently, Optima Malt is one of the largest malt producers in Poland and the only one with Polish capital only.

Przedsiębiorca uzyskał pomoc w ramach programu rządowego pod nazwą:
„Pomoc dla sektorów energochłonnych związana z nagłymi wzrostami cen gazu ziemnego i energii elektrycznej w 2022 r.”