During the 19th Century, Chevallier was the dominant barley planting in the United Kingdom. Chevallier was a landrace; a non-crossed variety that flourished in locally adapted conditions. As the science of plant breeding became understood, Plumage Archer barley was developed by Dr ES Beavan at Warminster in the early 1900s and was to become the mainstay of UK malting barley for the next 50 years.
Beaven was the first to cross breed a barley for specific traits. He took the variety 'Plumage' (of Swedish origin) and crossed it with 'English Archer' to produce the hybrid 'Plumage Archer'; the first genetically true barley variety. Plumage Archer is one of the 'grandparents' of Maris Otter.
In brewing, Plumage Archer is typified by very sweet, malty smooth flavours.