PORTLAND, ME — The Craft Maltsters Guild is pleased to report international attendance at the 2023 Craft Malt Conference that took place in Portland, Maine earlier this month, and the highest number of Malt Cup entries in the history of the competition. 

A total of 190 individuals from 11 countries participated in this year’s Craft Malt Conference. Of that total, 146 were in-person attendees hailing from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Norway, and the United States; with additional countries—  Brazil, China, Ireland, and Japan— represented among the 44 virtual conference guests. Further attendee breakdown by role in the supply chain included roughly 39% craft maltsters, 11% brewers, 7% distillers, and the rest a mix of farmers, university researchers, sponsors and other allied trade professionals, and members of the media. 

Notably in attendance were six scholarship recipients. Elia Gomez Smith and Kayla Stinnett traveled to Portland, ME to join us in person. Aline Duarte Correa de Brito, Caitlyn Jordan, Tiffany J. Pilson, and LaShanda Poteat attended virtually. Learn more about these scholars here

The 2023 Craft Malt Conference speakers also represented various roles in the supply chain and intersecting industries, including barley breeders, farmers, maltsters, brewers, distillers, marketers, HR experts, professors, and laboratory scientists. 

2023 marks the highest number of entries yet in the Malt Cup and an unprecedented near sweep of all categories by one malthouse: Loveland, Colorado’s Root Shoot Malting. 

Thor Oechsner of Oechsner Farms located in Newfield, New York was presented with the 2023 Soles of Malt Award.

The Craft Maltsters Guild extends gratitude to the many people and organizations who made this gathering possible, including Blue Ox Malthouse, Allagash Brewing Company, and the University of Southern Maine Quality Control Collaboratory for offering attendees tours of their facilities; Portland, Maine-based photographer Benjamin Moore; Vince and Daniel Cimo of Empowered Streaming who oversaw conference audio, video, and session live-streaming; the venue Holiday Inn By The Bay Hotel and Convention Center; all speakers and the keynote presenter Dr. Rob Arnold; and all sponsors, especially our featured platinum sponsor, Bühler. We also extend gratitude to the many Malt Cup judges and the competition facilitators Hannah Turner of Montana State University Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab, and Lindsay Barr of DraughtLab. 

2023 Malt Cup 

This year’s Malt Cup was the largest Malt Cup competition in its five-year history with 90 total entries in four malt categories: Pilsen, Pale, Vienna, and Light Munich. Entries came from 6 countries, 19 states, and 3 provinces with representation from more than 34 malthouses worldwide. Malt Cup entries were scored in three rounds by 200 judges, a process facilitated by the Montana State University Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab, and DraughtLab. 

From left to right: Hannah Turner (MSU Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab), Mike Myers and Craig Miller (Root Shoot Malting), Lindsay Barr (DraughtLab)

Root Shoot Malting of Loveland, Colorado was named Best in Show, taking home the coveted traveling Malt Cup for the second time.

Here are the medal-winning malthouses by category:


  • Gold – Root Shoot Malting – Loveland, CO 
  • Silver – Hogarth Malt – Olds, Alberta, Canada
  • Bronze – Field Five Farm – Saanichton, BC, Canada

Pale Malt

  • Gold – Admiral Maltings – Alameda, CA
  • Silver – Root Shoot Malting – Loveland, CO 
  • Bronze – Blue Ox Malthouse – Lisbon Falls, ME


  • Gold – Root Shoot Malting – Loveland, CO 
  • Silver – Gallatin Valley Malt Co. – Manhattan, MT 
  • Bronze – Wyoming Malting Company – Pine Bluffs, WY

Light Munich

Watch the replay of the 2023 Awards Ceremony on YouTube.

Soles of Malt Award 

From left to right: Andrea Stanley (Valley Malt), Thor Oechsner (2023 Soles of Malt award recipient), Twila Soles (Grouse Malt House and award founder)

Congratulations to this year’s Soles of Malt Award recipient, Thor Oechsner of Oechsner Farms, who was honored with an engraved malt shovel and a $500 cash award for furthering malt education. 


2023 Craft Malt Conference keynote speaker, Dr. Rob Arnold

The conference keynote was Rob Arnold, author of The Terroir Of Whiskey, President of Advanced Spirits, and Master Distiller. He kicked off the conference with scientific and anecdotal evidence to support terroir’s role in whiskey flavor. Twenty-six additional experts shared their knowledge and passion in the following two days of sessions. 2023 attendees have access to the recorded seminars on Crowdcast


The Craft Malt Conference is made possible by generous organizations committed to supporting our members with their contributions. 

Platinum Sponsor

Meet this year’s Platinum Sponsor Bühler Group and learn about their RimoMalt product on our blog:  RimoMalt – The malting plant that grows with your business

Gold Sponsors

Malter’s Advantage, RadCraft

Silver Sponsors 

DraughtLab Sensory Software, GlycoSpot, Harvest Hosts, Kaspar Schulz, North Valley Ag and Mill Equipment, Montana State University Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab, and Yingtai Machinery

Bronze Sponsors 

Ackermann, Allagash Brewing Company, Beer Law Center, Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage, Limagrain Cereal Seeds, Maine Brewers Guild, Michigan State University Quality Lab, and #NotMe

Contact Emily Hutto at [email protected] with media inquiries about the Craft Maltsters Guild or the 2023 conference.