Chancellor George Osborne said he was impressed by Berwick-based business Simpsons Malt following his recent visit.
Mr Osborne announced a £22,5million funding boost for rural businesses in the North East from Simpsons last Thursday.
Greeted by Simpsons Malt’s vice chairman Richard Simpson, the Chancellor and Conservative parliamentary candidate Anne-Marie Trevelyan were given a tour of the malting plant, which produces 280,000 tonnes of premium malt for the brewing and distilling industries worldwide.
Enjoying his first visit to a malting plant, the Chancellor showed great interest in the malting process from the initial steeping stage, through to germinating and kilning.
Simpsons Malt personnel Steven Rowley, Wayne Donaghy, Kevin Wood, Pat Richards and Callum Richardson were on hand during the visit last Thursday to explain the process and answer any questions.
The family-owned maltster recently celebrated its 150-year milestone and the Chancellor and Ms Trevelyan were shown around the company’s museum before completing the grain to glass story by tasting the various premium malts and sampling a 30-year-old single malt.
Commenting on the visit, Richard Simpson, said: “This £22.5m funding boost is certainly good news for rural businesses in the North East and we were keen to highlight the importance of dualling the A1 north of Newcastle and the positive impact that would have to the economy.
“We commended the Chancellor on his work in removing the beer duty escalator before lobbying for interest rates to remain low, as this is good for both business and investment.”
Following the tour, the chancellor tweeted that Simpsons Malt was “v impressive”.