2021 Craft Malt Conference – General Schedule

Updates on the Craft Malt Con Online seminar topics, speakers, and more will be posted as they become available. Learn more about our speaker lineup here.

Note: All times are in US (Denver) Mountain Time.

Day 1 – Wednesday, February 10th

10:00 AM -11:00 AM

Keynote Address – Malt Matters: A 50-Year Perspective

Beer cannot survive on hops alone! Ken Grossman will share the importance malt has played in his life as a brewer, advice from the challenges he’s encountered along the way, and why he’s so excited about the myriad of potential craft malt brings to the brewers’ mash tun.

  • Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Virtual Expo Sessions

12:45 PM -1:45 PM, Craft Brewing & Distilling Industry Updates

Hear industry updates from leading experts in the craft brewing and distilling communities.

  • Bart Watson, Brewers Association
  • Becky Harris, American Craft Spirits Association / Catoctin Creek Distilling Co.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Hybrid Rye – what can this new crop bring to US farmers and industry?

  • Claus Nymand, KWS Cereals

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM, Panel Discussion

Thinking outside the Saladin Box

Join us for an exploration of the different business models and diversified enterprises that have sprouted up in the small grains ecosystem. Our panelists will share how community-minded approaches and diversification into new markets have allowed them to build more resilient and successful businesses.

  • Sue Marshall, NETZRO
  • Sara Wood, Wyoming High Desert Malt / Wyoming Heritage Grains
  • Matt Cunningham, Rustic Brew Farm
  • Beth Robinette, LINC Foods / LINC Malt

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

DMS: Is it something to blame the maltsters for?

You either love or hate dimethyl sulfide (DMS). The Germans loathe it, even though it is frequently a feature of their lager beers. The Aussies despise it. Rolling Rock aficionados expect it in abundance. The biggest selling beer in the UK has a decent amount as part of its character. No matter what your preference, it is essential to control it. Ultimately it comes from two precursors in the malt. One of these, S-methyl methionine, grabs all the attention. However, there is a second that is seldom talked about, dimethyl sulfoxide. It certainly is incumbent upon the maltster to deliver the desired amount of precursor to the brewer. Yet it is the brewer who has far more influence on controlling the levels of DMS in a beer. In this presentation, I will explain how the understanding of DMS and how to control it has unfolded since it was first focused on in the 1970s. The route to controlling DMS will be spelled out.

  • Dr. Charlie Bamforth, UC-Davis / University of Nottingham

5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

How a research malt house informs barley breeding and expands research horizons

Barley breeding programs rely on multiple streams of data and analysis in the assessment and ascension of breeding lines and varieties. Having multiple scales of in-house malting capabilities allows the Oregon State Barley Breeding Program to expand our evaluation of traditional malting quality metrics as well as run experiments regarding malt, beer, and spirit flavor. Additionally, small-scale malting allows us to work more closely with our malting, brewing, and distilling industry stakeholders. This session will provide four perspectives from the OSU Barley Project on how the malt house has influenced existing work and allowed for new research directions.


Oregon State University Barley Breeding Program Team

    • Dr. Patrick Hayes
    • Dr. Brigid Meints
    • Scott Fisk
    • Campbell Morrissy

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Networking Event

Day 2 – Thursday, February 11th

10:00 AM -11:00 AM

155 years of malting innovation, investment and barley

Ever since James Parker Simpson started trading corn in 1862, change has been an ever-present experience for Simpsons Malt. Richard Simpson, currently Vice Chairman and 5th generation family member to work in the operation, will share stories of his family business’s journey over its more than 150 years in business. During this long tenure, Simpson’s Malt has grown into a malting powerhouse in the UK and abroad. Along the way, they’ve also survived and thrived through countless challenges, all while focused on staying true to their core beliefs and values.

  • Richard Simpson, Simpson’s Malt

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Virtual Expo Sessions

12:45 PM -1:45 PM, Panel Discussion

Craft Malt: Looking Beyond the Price Per Pound

Two brewers and a distiller will discuss why they use craft malt and how they justify paying the higher price. Is it a philosophical decision, a commitment to support local, a public relations opportunity, all of the above, or something else altogether? We will delve into these questions and how craft malt is giving these craft beverage makers purpose and a stronger connection to place. We’ll also highlight some of the ways they’re communicating the added value and story of craft malt to their customers.

  • John Schrepel, Still Austin Whiskey
  • Maureen Fabry, CraftRoots Brewing Co.
  • Chris Engdahl, Lantern Brewing

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Taking the Leap: Utilizing Process Improvements and Technology in a Growing Craft Malt Company

This session will discuss the considerations to take when transitioning from a small floor malting operation to a larger, mixed-process, higher-volume craft malt house. From grain purchasing to finished malt arriving at your customer’s doors with a focus on production technologies.

  • Brian Simpson and Adam Demchak, Riverbend Malt House

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM

Breeding wheat and its relatives for baking, brewing, and distilling

The talk will detail the steps used to develop novel high-yielding non-commodity grains designed to keep value where it is produced, within regional communities. How targets of breeding are determined and defined will be covered as will the complexities of scale and affordability.  The concepts of art and beauty as an integral part of a laboratory and field program will also be covered.

  • Stephen Jones, Washington State University – Breadlab

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Making the Most of your Malthouse Data: An Introduction to “MaltVis”

Curtis and Andrew have developed a web-based data analysis tool and they would like to share it with you! MaltVis is a tool that allows maltsters to visualize and analyze their malting process data and malt analysis results and it will soon be made available for all CMG Member Malthouses to use. This presentation will provide an introduction to MaltVis, tips for malthouse data collection and organization, and a case study for how MaltVis has been used at Admiral Maltings to discover trends and correlations and make process improvements to improve malt quality.

  • Curtis Davenport and Andrew Caffey, Admiral Maltings

5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

Lessons Learned from a Craft Guild Education

The Roasters Guild of the Specialty Coffee Association was formed some 20 years ago as coffee roasters around the US sought to share experiences, catalog knowledge, and professionalize the craft of coffee roasting. Over the course of those years, the Guild has grown to an international status, provides training and certification for roasters around the world, and collaborates with universities, trade associations, coffee professionals, and private enterprises to further the knowledge and craft of roasting. Ric Rhinehart was part of the guild as an instructor, organizer, and the CEO of the SCA for most of that time, and Candice Madison is a professional coffee roaster who both benefited from and helped to guide the course of roasting education. Join them for a look at how another industry approached the challenges of professionalizing a craft and institutionalizing the pursuit of knowledge for its members.

  • Ric Rheinhart, Specialty Coffee Consultant
  • Candice Madison, The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab and Tasting Room

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Networking Event

Day 3 – Friday, February 12th

10:00 AM -11:00 AM

Malt kilning – theory and practice

The kilning stage of malt production is a key step in defining some of the primary attributes of malt quality.  This presentation will be wide-ranging covering kiln design and technological evolution, the phases of malt drying, the chemistry of color and flavor formation, the influence of kilning on analytical aspects of finished malt, and typical kilning recipes for some common malt types.

  • David Griggs, Crisp Malt

11:30 AM – 1:30 PM Virtual Expo Sessions 

2:00 PM -3:00 PM, Panel Discussion

Craft Malt Collaborations

We will explore some of the innovative projects made possible when brewers and distillers form close working relationships with craft maltsters.

  • Matthew Hoffman, Westland Distillery
  • Dave Green, Skagit Valley Malting
  • Caleb Michalke, Sugar Creek Malt House
  • Bryan Grohnke, Middle Brow Beer
  • Pete Ternes, Middle Brow Beer

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM

Priorities for Malting Barley Development

Barley breeders are tasked with the never-ending job of combining agronomic and quality traits that will work for the grower and end-user. The long process of bringing lines along from a cross to commercial acceptance may be interrupted by major market shifts. In the US, the end of prohibition, expansion to the intermountain west, light beer, all-malt beer and whiskey, and the local sourcing of ingredients have challenged breeding programs to respond. This is being accomplished by repackaging traits that meet regional and national demands. The priorities for new malting barley varieties will be reviewed. The collaboration among the development programs and a few of the significant contributions of major traits highlighted.

  • Scott Heisel, American Malt Barley Association

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Improving Malting Production Through In-Depth Analysis

This talk is about what process means, the types of processes, and how we can integrate analysis into these processes. A brief history of how analysis came about, and the sometimes angular contact between production and analytical staff, will also be covered. Lastly, we look at what we need in order to make sure production is optimized.

  • Hugh Alexander, Balnamoon Maltings and Brewery

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Networking Event TBD

7:00 PM –  8:00 PM, 2021 Malt Cup Awards Ceremony

Back to Conference Main Page