233 attendees from 24 United States and 18 countries attended the 2022 Craft Malt Conference over the last two weekends of February. The speakers for this educational event ranged in industry and expertise, and the Malt Cup received malt submissions from all over the globe. The Malt Academy, also known as the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre, was also named the 2022 Soles of Malt Award recipient.
Jesse Bussard, Executive Director of the Craft Maltsters Guild notes that the conference saw the most international diversity in history, “which is a testament to the strong interest in craft malt we’re seeing from craft beer and spirits makers worldwide. This year’s virtual attendance numbers were only a few people short of the participation we saw in 2021, showing there continues to be a growing thirst for craft malt education from folks across the malt supply chain.”
“The 2022 Craft Malt Conference was exciting because presentation after presentation showed that the industry is growing and maturing,” said Jennifer Breckner, the Guild’s 2022 Craft Malt Conference Marketing & Events Associate. “Kyle Hurst and Jon Kielty of Big aLICe Brewing Company discussed how their profitable business model is centered on award-winning beers that highlight locally and sustainably produced ingredients; a panel on the burgeoning European craft malt scene cited as an influence, the pioneering work done by U.S. craft maltsters; and Avalon, a malted barley variety bred by Virginia Tech to work well in an Eastern U.S. climate, was created specifically to accommodate market demand. There is a bright future for craft malt if we can adapt to the challenges brought on by the pandemic and climate change.”
The Guild cannot thank Jennifer enough for her thoughtful contributions to this year’s conference.
2022 Malt Cup
For the 2022 Malt Cup, 25 malthouses submitted 58 entries spread across three malt style categories: Pale, Pilsen, and Pale Ale—all base malts. Rabbit Hill Malt of Shiloh, NJ was named Best in Show and took home the coveted traveling Malt Cup.
Here are the medal-winning malthouses by category:
- Gold: Rabbit Hill Malt
- Silver: Admiral Maltings – Alameda, CA
- Bronze: Riverbend Malt House – Asheville, NC
- Gold: Wyoming Malting Company – Pine Bluffs, WY
- Silver: Gallatin Valley Malt Co. – Manhattan, MT
- Bronze: Gold Rush Malt – Baker City, OR
Pale Ale Malt
- Gold: Voyager Craft Malt – Myall Park, NSW, Australia
- Silver: Wyoming Malting Company
- Bronze: Root Shoot Malting – Loveland, CO
“The Malt Cup has been a great opportunity for us to evaluate our flavor. This is our second year entering, and we took the feedback from last year’s competition,” says Hillary Barile, Rabbit Hill Malt Co-Founder and Board of Directors Vice President. “We would really recommend to anyone who wants to do a deep dive on their flavor to enter.”
Learn more about the Malt Cup judging process here.
The 2022 Malt Cup winners gathered at the weekend 2 virtual happy hour to talk about quality, barley varieties, and so much more. All expressed the honor of receiving their awards, and the Guild appreciates their commitment to consistent, quality malt production that raises the bar for the industry at large.
“When I looked around at this year’s crop of winners and listened to their stories, I realized it reinforces much of what makes craft malt special,” said Brent Manning of Riverbend Malt House, after the gathering. “Barley varieties old, new, and somewhere in between. Drums, GKVs, and floor malt production techniques across the nation and the world. Innovation-driven by the melding of ideas from the past and present.”
Get quality advice from this group later this month on our blog.
Soles of Malt Award
Congratulations to this year’s Soles of Malt Award recipient, the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre, who were honored with an engraved malt shovel along with a $500 cash award for furthering malt education. “Thanks to CMBTC for everything they’ve done for our community, from developing North America’s first malting workshop to providing important research and testing services for our Canadian counterparts,” Bussard adds.
The conference keynote June Russell, Director of Regional Food Programs at the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming, set the table in her address for the multidisciplinary and specialty spanning lineup of passionate, expert speakers to follow. 2022 attendees will have access to recorded seminars for the next 90 days.
Thank you to all who applied for conference scholarships, and congratulations to our recipients in this first annual program: Jessi Flynn, Jen Ireland, and Maany Ramanan. Meet them on our blog in the coming weeks.
The Craft Malt Conference is made possible by generous industry members committed to elevating the quality and notoriety of the craft malting business. Meet this year’s Gold Sponsors Kaspar Schulz and Malters Advantage and learn more about their craft malt contributions on our blog. Sponsors contributed to the success of the 2022 conference from many segments of the industry— including fabricating, marketing, research, and more.
Buhler Group, Colorado Malting Company, DraughtLab Sensory Software, Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage, Michigan State University Quality Lab, Montana State University Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab, RadCraft, and Yingtai Machinery.
Ackermann, Beer Law Center, Limagrain Cereal Seeds, and Mainstem Malt.
Save the date for the 2023 Craft Malt Conference, slated for March 16-18, 2023 in Portland, ME.