Greetings Guild Members, 

It has only been a few weeks since I assumed the role of Executive Director, and already I am deeply impressed by the remarkable tenacity, brilliance, and determination embodied by the farmers, maltsters, and educators who form the bedrock of the Craft Maltsters Guild. This sentiment was vividly apparent to me last month at MaltCon2024 in Davis, CA. More than 100 attendees gathered, wholly engaged in three days of seminars and networking events, seizing every opportunity to refine their craft. The camaraderie exhibited during the 2024 Malt Cup, the world’s premier competition recognizing the highest quality malts, was inspiring and infectious.

All the above observations came with great familiarity from my past experience with 25+ years of experience working in craft beer and spirits. But most relatable is my time at the Colorado Brewers Guild. Working directly with many brewery owners and staff who have dedicated themselves to their craft and small business was something I saw just about every day. I saw Colorado open over 250 breweries (and some closed too) in about a 10 year period. I always thought craft beer was on the cusp of something bigger, but I never thought it would turn into what it is today. I feel a similar thing for independent grain farmers and craft maltsters. Just like the early days of craft beer and spirits, the complete story of craft malt is yet to be heard. A story that is and will be very relatable with the countless numbers of hard working individuals that make the craft brewery and distillery thrive today. 

In the remainder of  2024, our guild aims to harness this collective energy and channel it into several key initiatives. The following areas of focus have been crafted with the best interests of our membership and industry in mind while moving toward larger leaps as an organization in years to come. 

  • Amplify Our Communication: The narrative of the small farmer and craft malthouse is a compelling one, both within and beyond the realms of beer and distilling. Our work represents a compelling set of stories unfolding in real-time, involving in-demand themes like family farms, artisan manufacturing, variety development, flavor exploration, and the relocalization of agricultural economies.  We’re committed to developing programs and campaigns that effectively communicate these stories to new audiences. Through fresh and innovative messaging, we aim to ensure that more brewers, homebrewers, distilleries, spirit connoisseurs, and retailers recognize the value of craft malt. It’s time for malt to step into the spotlight and shine alongside hops.
  • Education: Our Education Committee remains dedicated to providing invaluable resources to our members. From webinars to safety and quality manuals, we’re committed to equipping you with the knowledge and tools needed to thrive in the craft malt industry. We welcome your suggestions for topics you’d like to explore further, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Education Committee.

The first decade of the Craft Malt Guild has laid a solid foundation, and now, we stand at the threshold of a new phase of growth and innovation. There will be ample opportunities for you to engage and participate more actively than ever before. I am eagerly anticipating an exhilarating year ahead, filled with collaboration, learning, and progress.


Steve Kurowski