2021 Craft Malt Conference – Speakers

Born and raised in Zambia, Hugh Alexander received an honors degree in Brewing and Biochemistry 1st Class from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, studying under the late great Anna Macleod. He spent years working in the research laboratories of Harp Lager (a subsidiary of Guinness) and as the Chief Chemist for Crisp Malt. Since 1984, Hugh has been engineering and producing micro malting equipment for companies worldwide including Diageo and James Hutton Institute (UK), Asahi (Japan), Nestle (Switzerland/Singapore), AB-InBev (South Africa), as well as many European and American Universities and establishments. Hugh currently owns and operates Balnamoon Maltings and Brewery, which services a local Scottish castle in the whisky production area of Speyside.


Dr. Charlie Bamforth has been part of the brewing industry since 1978. Formerly with the Brewing Research Foundation and Bass in the UK, he was lead professor of brewing at UC-Davis for 20 years from 1999. He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at UC-Davis and also an Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham in England, as well as Senior Quality Advisor to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. He is the author of numerous articles, papers, and books on beer and soccer. He has also been featured extensively in the media and received many awards for his contributions to the industry.


Andrew Caffrey obtained his doctorate at the University of California, Davis studying fermentation chemistry for beer and wine. Andrew has taught with the UC-Davis Master Brewers Continuing Education Program and started working with Admiral Maltings to learn more about the malting process while applying data science and visualization techniques learned throughout his doctorate.


As a 4th generation farmer at Rustic Brew Farm, Matt Cunningham witnessed his family operation shrink due to larger corporate farms outbidding them on their rented ground and 2nd generation landowners selling out to developers. This experience made him realize he could possibly lose his family’s farm if he continued in commodity crops, so he began to explore value-added products.  This lead him to hops, and then into barley.  From there Matt started a very small micro malt house (500 lb batch size) in one of his barns and cut his teeth in the malt game.  He likes to say he sort of fell in love.  With great support from local brewers and the CMG, Matt has since twice expanded his malting business and continues to grow, recently adding a flour mill to offer fresh stone-ground flour.  He hopes to continue malting and grinding grains from our farm into the distant future!


Curtis Davenport co-founded Admiral Maltings in 2017 with Ron Silberstein and Dave McLean and is Admiral’s Head Maltster. Prior to opening Admiral, Curtis grew organic fruits, vegetables, barley, and wheat in Santa Barbara County, CA. Curtis began floor malting inside a converted shipping container in 2013 and has been a member of the Craft Maltster’s Guild ever since.


Adam Demchak has a background in mechanical and manufacturing engineering and has been involved in the production of various products ranging from RV’s to sculpture to craft malt.  He joined Riverbend in 2017 and has enjoyed helping the malt house grow.  He enjoys learning how to improve the tools and equipment necessary to make great malt on a consistent basis.  Away from the malt house he enjoys spending time with his family and renovating his 100-year-old home.


Chris Engdahl created Lantern Brewing in 2010, after a detour of nearly 20 years designing and operating global-scale data network systems and infrastructure. Coming to realize that the Internet is merely a graph of fads while Beer has always connected everybody, he returned to his roots in food and beverage intending to explore and share a love for Belgian and French brewing traditions. In the short decade since, he has barely learned anything about brewing but nevertheless holds the opinion that most craft breweries are on a self-destructive trajectory that actively undercuts the very notion of “craft” that they believe differentiates their products from those of multinational and industrial breweries— and that the adoption of craft malt is one of the most important ways in which we might halt that slide toward irrelevance.


Maureen Fabry graduated from the American Brewers Guild in 1999 then worked as a professional brewer for 15 years. In 2014 she co-founded CraftRoots Brewing in the metrowest Boston area. She and her wife set out to build CraftRoots as a small, community-centered taproom featuring draft beer brewed exclusively with locally-sourced malt and hops. In her first year of business, batches were just 10 gallons but craft malt from Maine and Vermont maltsters makes exceptional beer so in 2017 they expanded into a 7 bbl brewery. That same year CraftRoots was named the fastest-growing brewery in the US. Maureen is passionate about supporting sustainable agriculture and brewing beer that is genuine, local and fresh. She volunteers with the Mass Brewers Guild, is a former BOD member and is currently active on their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee as well as the Technical Committee.


Scott Fisk is a Senior Faculty Research Assistant with the Oregon State University Barley Breeding Program. As the research maltster and manager of all field-based operations, he is involved in all aspects of the program including disease resistance, winter hardiness, and end-use quality (including flavor), all with the end goal of developing better barley for better beer and spirits.


Dave Green is President and CEO of Skagit Valley Malting. Before joining Skagit, Dave held a variety of roles in the food processing and agriculture industries, equipping him to make the jump to a company that connects the two together and builds something stronger. Skagit Valley Malting is a craft malting company that pursues identity-preserved malt using its patented malting technology to serve the craft brewing and distilling markets.


2020 marks 30 years since David Griggs joined the malting industry.  After completing an Honours degree in Industrial Biology and a Ph.D. in plant biochemistry, he joined Pauls Malt as Senior Research Scientist in the autumn of 1990.  Over the intervening years, Pauls Malt evolved into Greencore Malt and subsequently Boortmalt which led to roles covering most aspects of the malting business from raw material through operations to brewer and distiller end-use.  He has enjoyed the opportunity to travel extensively to global customer locations and spent some time working in Russian malting plants in the early 2000s.  He joined Crisp Malt in 2013 as Technical Director.  Key responsibilities are many and varied, but encompass liaison with plant breeders concerning new variety testing, technical malting projects, barley, and malt quality control and quality assurance, customer technical support, and increasingly, passing his knowledge and experience onto the next generation of maltsters.  Dave is an Institute of Brewing & Distilling Diploma Brewer and a Maltsters Association of Great Britain Master Maltster. He has also chaired the UK Malting Barley Committee and is a Malting Diploma examiner and author of a number of technical malting articles.


Bryan Grohnke is a co-founder and the brewmaster of Middle Brow Beer Co. in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. He generally manages brewing operations. His focus is on capturing wild yeast and figuring out how to make a brand new mostly wild beer or blend or fruit wine every single damn week for our beloved c_sf subscribers. He also loves spreadsheets.


Ken Grossman founded Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in 1980, with the goal of providing his customers with the kind of beer he likes to drink.  He is known throughout the beer industry for his uncompromising approach to quality, financial savviness, and firm belief that a rising tide lifts all boats.  Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is a steadfastly family-owned and operated business, run on Grossman’s philosophy of environmental, social, and economic health, and is considered one of the premier craft breweries in the United States.


Dr. Patrick Hayes is a Professor at Oregon State University. His research team focuses on barley – in its many forms and uses. Current research areas include the development of facultative habit malting barley varieties; the many facets of winter hardiness; dissection of quantitative disease resistance; characterization and utilization of genetic diversity; stimulating local barley production; research malting; development of multi-use naked barley for organic and conventional systems; exploring the contributions of barley genotype to beer flavor; and barley quality assessment. The OSU Barley Project has released 17 varieties/germplasms.


Becky Harris is a Chemical Engineer and Chief Distiller at Catoctin Creek Distillery. In 2009, she and her husband, Scott Harris, combined their engineering and business backgrounds to build a distillery focused on creating the finest Virginia Rye Whisky from grain to glass. Her passion is creating award-winning rye whisky, unique gin expressions, and locally-sourced brandies of the highest quality, with an emphasis on local and organic sourcing of grain, fruit, and herbs. Catoctin Creek has been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast, and Whisky Advocate. The Daily Beast, Forbes, and Men’s Journal have highlighted the distillery as an example of great American craft distilleries making whisky from scratch. Becky has been featured in Food and Wine as one of “6 Women in Whiskey to Watch,” and serves as President of the American Craft Spirits Association, the only 501c trade association for craft distilleries.


Scott E. Heisel is Vice President and Technical Director of the American Malting Barley Association, Inc., (AMBA) Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received a B.S. Degrees in Biochemistry and Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1982.  Upon graduation, he spent two years at the USDA/ARS Barley and Malt Laboratory characterizing various enzymes of germinating barley.  He received an M.S. Degree in Agronomy studying hordein proteins and using them to help the industry identify barley varieties.  Heisel joined AMBA in April of 1987 where he is responsible for coordinating agricultural policies and quality evaluations of new malting barley selections.


Matt Hofmann is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Westland Distillery, based in Seattle. Named the American Master Distiller of the Year in 2018 by Whiskey Magazine, Matt established Westland as a leading voice in the global single malt community when it comes to the impact of malted barley on the flavor profile of whiskey. Having first begun working with the WSU Breadlab and Skagit Valley Malting in 2012, and now with other partners such as Mainstem Malt and LINC Malt, Matt believes strongly in the possibilities provided by boutique malts from sustainable agricultural systems. In October of 2019, Matt and Westland announced that they would completely fund new research on barley varietals outside of the commodity system with the WSU Breadlab, focusing on novel flavor, economic viability for the farmer, and low impact environmental methods.


Stephen Jones has a Ph.D. in Molecular Cytogenetics from UC Davis. He is a professor at Washington State University and holds the Clif Bar and King Arthur Flour Endowed Chair in Organic Grain Breeding and Innovation. Stephen founded and directs WSU Breadlab in Skagit Valley Washington. Together with his Ph.D. students, Stephen works globally with farmers, millers, and bakers to develop decentralized equitable and affordable non-commodity grain systems. At WSU Breadlab they work with whole grain wheat, rye, barley, and buckwheat and focus on yield for the farmer and flavor and nutrition for all of us.


Candice Madison has worked in specialty coffee for over a decade, as an accomplished barista, roaster, and trainer. She is a Q Arabica Instructor for the Coffee Quality Institute, an Authorized Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Trainer, teaching on SCA certified campuses, as well as at the annual SCA Event, World of Coffee and Coffee Roasters Guild Retreat. A past World Coffee Events Head Judge, Candice is currently the Director of Roasting at The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab and Tasting Room. She oversees production roasting for the Tasting Room, as well as contributing to the Crown Jewel program, and hosting original and SCA roasting education. She is also a published writer on a range of topics concerning specialty coffee. Candice focuses on working with those who look to ensure quality in specialty coffee throughout the supply chain. Most important to her work is that it supports sustainable livelihoods for all farmers, producers, and all of those along the value chain, with recognition of the invaluable role that women and people of color play throughout. Previously a member of several SCA committees, including the Equity Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, Candice is the Vice President of the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity (CCRE). Her vocation is the unceasing quest for the highest quality of coffee and the constant, sustainable improvement in the quality of the lives of those who produce it.


Sue Marshall has spent the majority of her professional career as an entrepreneur and currently the founder and CEO of NETZRO, SBC. NETZRO provides a food technology platform that powers the safe capture and conversion of industrial food & beverage byproducts into new sustainable upcycled food ingredients. Sue has entered NETZRO into numerous entrepreneurial contests, accelerators, and incubators. She uses her proud range of business experience and education to assist other entrepreneurs with start-ups that desire a focus on socially responsible business models and funding.


Dr. Brigid Meints is an Assistant Professor, Senior Research with the Barley Breeding program at Oregon State University. She grew up in Corvallis, OR, and developed a love for plants at a young age. She earned a BA from Scripps College in Anthropology and Gender & Women’s Studies but found her way back to plants after graduation when she began working for the barley breeding program at OSU. She earned her MS from OSU in Crop Science with a focus in Plant Breeding & Genetics and recently completed her Ph.D. in Crop Science at Washington State University. Her research focuses on breeding multi-use naked barley for organic systems.


Caleb Michalke, owner and head maltster of Sugar Creek Malt Company in Lebanon, Indiana, started craft malting in 2014. What started as small batches in his kitchen quickly became 21,000 pounds a week by 2018! Since then, Sugar Creek Malt Co. has continued to expand and offer customers anything from raw grains, base malts, and heritage grains to smoked and roasted malts. Michalke has become known in the industry for his innovation and continued work in refining and redefining the trade. His mission is to create grains that not only inspire and push the craft industry but also tell a story and sometimes even resurrect the past! In 2019, he built a traditional Norwegian Såinnhus, the only malthouse of its kind in North America, where historical methods are used to malt grains with remnants of old-world traditions. Every day is a new day— something Michalke looks forward to as he continues to grow with the craft industry!


Campbell Morrissy is a Ph.D. student and research assistant in Dr. Pat Hayes’ Barley Project lab at Oregon State University. His research focuses on the impact of barley variety, growing location, and field management on malt quality and flavor in beer and whiskey. Prior to joining the team at OSU, he spent nearly a decade directly in the brewing and distilling industry, working in facilities from 2,000 – 40,000 barrels per year. In 2013 he received a master’s in brewing and distilling science from Heriot-Watt University.


Claus Nymand was born in Denmark and grew up on a dairy and hog farm. Over the years, he has actively farmed and worked as a Crop Production Advisor.  Since 1999, Nymand has been working with breeding and seeds mainly as Product Manager for KWS Cereals. From 2014-2017, he was responsible for KWS Cereals in Scandinavian and Baltic countries with a special focus on hybrid rye. Since 2017, he has been the Product Manager for KWS Cereals hybrid rye varieties in the United States and Canada. He is working actively to get hybrid rye accepted into both the food and feed market.


Ric Rhinehart served from 2007-19 as the Executive Director and CEO of the Specialty Coffee Association. During his tenure there he led the organization to become the world’s largest global coffee association. Prior to taking on this position, he held executive positions in several coffee & tea firms. He is currently an advisor to various coffee enterprises and an irregular correspondent on coffee issues in a variety of media.


Beth Robinette is the fourth generation of our family to work on their ranch, the Lazy R. She moved home and began managing the business with her dad, Maurice, in 2010, after completing her studies at Western Washington University. She went on to earn her MBA at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, a small independent business school dedicated to using the tools of business for environmental and social good. Beth is also the co-founder of LINC Foods, a worker-farmer-owned cooperative food hub and craft maltster based in Spokane, WA. She is also a co-facilitator of the New Cowgirl Camp, a 5-day intensive course for women interested in learning the ins and outs of regenerative ranching. Beth is a very mediocre yodeler but this does not discourage her in the slightest.


John Schrepel is the head distiller at Still Austin Whiskey Co. in Austin, Texas. Before starting a career in distilling, John worked at Doc’s Cider learning how to make hard ciders and liquors. He then spent a four-year stint working at Black Dirt Distillery running their production facility where he handled everything from cooking to distilling and barreling. John took the job as head of production at Still Austin Whiskey Co. in 2017. Since then, his focus has been on making unique bourbons such as their high rye bourbon, The Musician, and other unique variations such as red corn and blue corn bourbon. Still Austin Whiskey Co. also has a reserve line of spirits that incorporates specialty mash bills and finishing casks.


Brian Simpson spent quite a bit of time getting degrees and working in the consulting world. After a stint helping to operate a biofuels business, he realized that starting his own sustainable business was where his passion was evolving. The burgeoning beer boom in Asheville seemed like an obvious draw for many reasons – the most important fact being that it was an opportunity to help local craft brewers stand apart from the rest of the country by offering a locally-sourced product. When he is not working with malt, you might be able to find him running on one of the many trails in Western NC.


Richard Simpson is Vice Chairman of Simpsons Malt. A 5th Generation family member of the Home of Good Malt, Richard has worked almost 20 years full-time at the British malting company – “…and many, many harvests beforehand!”. He has held a number of varied roles – “typical of a family business!” – but is now responsible for Simpsons Malt’s distribution partnerships and export and Scotland sales.


Pete Ternes is a co-founder of Middle Brow Beer Co. in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. He generally manages the brewpub and overall business operations, including the sourdough bakery and pizza restaurant. His focus is on side projects and fixing problems with the building, event marketing, and connecting the bakery, restaurant, and brewery through fermentation.


Bart Watson is the Chief Economist at the Brewers Association, a role he has held since 2013. Prior to his role with the Brewers Association, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa and a Lecturer at the University of California Berkeley. He holds a Ph.D. from UC-Berkeley and is a Certified Cicerone.



Sara Wood is a 5th generation farmer in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming. Her family has owned their current farm since the 1940s. They raise beef cattle, alfalfa hay, and grains. She has two kids and runs the malt house and flour mill full time along with the farm duties. Sara is President and Owner of Wyoming High Desert Malt and Wyoming Heritage Grains. They specialize in heritage/heirloom grains. These grains are used in the malt house and the flour mill. They are the only commercial flour mill in the state of Wyoming.


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