Note: All times are in US Eastern Time.

All sessions will be broadcast live via Crowdcast. Recordings of each session will be available shortly after the live session ends. Learn more about our speaker lineup here.

Day 3 – February 25th, 2022

11:00 AM-12:00 PM – Craft Brewing and Distilling Industry Updates

Speaker:  Chuck Skypeck (Brewers Association)

Brewers Association Technical Brewing Projects Director Chuck Skypeck will deliver a state of craft brewing industry update discussing the challenges and opportunities for craft brewers in 2022. Skypeck will also provide insights into what is in store for the Brewers Association in the coming year.

Speaker: Becky Harris (Chief Distiller at Catoctin Creek Distilling and Board President of American Craft Spirits Association)

American Craft Spirits Association (ASCA) Board President Becky Harris will discuss recent insights gleaned from the Craft Spirits Data Project © (CSDP). Initially started in 2016 and updated annually, the CSDP plays an integral role in understanding the economic dynamics of the craft spirits industry. ACSA partnered with Park Street, a global import and back-end office and financial solution company, to research and analyze economic trends in the craft spirits industry. To date, it has been the single most impactful economic project ACSA has spearheaded, as the findings draw a clear line between the craft spirits industry and job development, agricultural growth, and increased tourism.

12:30-1:30 PM – U.S. Barley Crop Update: Pivoting from a Challenging 2021

Speaker: Ashley McFarland (Vice President and Technical Director of the American Malting Barley Association)

This session will review outcomes of the U.S. 2021 malting barley crop, and the challenges it presents from a quantity and quality perspective. McFarland will also share research and initiatives that the AMBA is actively engaged in to make malting barley a more resilient crop so that years like 2021 will not hurt so bad in the future.

2:00-3:00 PM – Working From Inside Out: Pipeline Development and Recruitment Strategies 

Speaker: Dr. J Jackson-Beckham (Principal of Crafted for All and Equity & Inclusion Partner of the Brewers Association)

“We would love to have more diverse hires, but candidates from underrepresented groups just don’t apply for our jobs.” Sound familiar? Building a diverse workforce can seem like an insurmountable challenge when your pipeline for employment openings lacks a broad range of candidates. In this seminar, Dr. J will cover a variety of practical pipeline development strategies that will help your business successfully increase the breadth, depth, and diversity of its pool of qualified job applicants and leverage the benefits of doing so. Key takeaways include guidance for developing job announcements and placements that will broaden and diversify the pipeline for job openings, as well as tools for recognizing and reducing bias in the application review and interviewing process.

3:30-4:30 PMSustainability in Craft Malt: A Case Study and Overview of Best Practices

Speakers:  Alli Buchanan (Thrive Consultancy) and Chip Norton (Sinagua Malt)

In early 2021, Sinagua Malt, a water conservation-oriented, Certified B Corporation in Arizona, collaborated with Thrive Consultancy on a comprehensive sustainability assessment of their business to expand their company’s positive environmental impact. They also generated a vision for the company’s future and a strategic roadmap for how to achieve that vision. In this session, Ali Buchanan of Thrive Consultancy will share insights, main findings, and best practices that came out of this innovative project. Chip Norton from Sinagua Malt will also be in attendance to share his perspective.

5:00-6:00 PM Engineering Considerations in Traditional Kiln Design and Formulation of Kiln Derived Specialty Malt

Speaker:  Vince Coonce (Technical Malting and Brewing Consultant and a former employee of MillerCoors, Briess Malts, Great Western Malting, and Cargill Malt)

Real-world examples will demonstrate applications in kiln design, kiln control, and specialty malt recipe development. Additionally, basic engineering concepts used in kiln design and operational control will be presented. Hygroscopic solids like grains, which tend to absorb moisture from the air, dry characteristically. Modeling of drying rates allows for the determination of kiln airflow and quality requirements and can be used to predict local kernel temperature and moisture conditions. The Psychrometric Chart offers a powerful, detailed, and comprehensive visual representation to understand air property changes for all air handling processes. The chart was developed to show the relationship between various parameters of air supply and relative humidity. Chemical mechanisms of formation of color, flavor, and other specialty malt physical attributes can be used to reveal targets for local kernel temperature and moisture combinations in the process. A controlled operational strategy can then be developed to produce any kiln-derived specialty malt that is least constrained by the physical limitations of the equipment.

7:00-8:00 PM – Virtual Happy Hour: Meet & Greet with 2022 Malt Cup Award Winners

Join us for a virtual chat with some of the 2022 Malt Cup Award Winners, including our 2022 Best of Show Champion! This virtual happy hour will take place on Zoom. The meeting link will be provided to attendees via email.

Day 4 – February 26th, 2022

11:00 AM-12:00 PM – Green Shoots: The State of Craft Malt in Europe

Moderated by Matthew Curtis (Pellicle Magazine)

Speakers: Alison Milne (Crafty Maltsters, Scotland), Tyson Weaver (Bonsak Malt, Norway), Paul French (Irish Craft Malts)

Over the past decade, craft malt has quickly taken root in North America, with a network of over 70 malthouses becoming a vital part of the supply chain for craft breweries and distilleries. Although Europe and the UK have not seen a similar level of growth in craft malting, green shoots are beginning to emerge. In this panel, hosted by UK-based beer writer Matthew Curtis, and featuring panelists Alison Milne (Crafty Maltsters, Scotland), Tyler Weaver (Bonsak Malt, Norway), and Paul French (Irish Craft Malts) the discussion will focus on the state of craft malt in Europe, and the challenges it faces in a beer and spirits market that has very different hurdles to its counterparts across the pond.

12:30-1:30 PM – Malting 2021 Crop Barley to Meet Brewers’ Quality Requirements

Speaker:  Dr. Yueshu Li (Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre)

In 2021, the severe drought during the growing season in the major barley growing regions in the Northern U.S. and Western Canada, along with some localized wet weather at the harvest, caused a big loss in total barley production and quality deterioration such as undesirable high protein content, low plumpness, and pre-harvest sprouting damage. As a result, malting companies have to select their barley from a much smaller supply pool and may have to loosen quality requirements in order to secure adequate quantities for their production needs. As expected, it’s a big challenge for maltsters in any operation, large or small, to process the barley with lower-than-usual quality specs to produce quality malt. In this presentation, Dr. Yueshu Li, from the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre, will cover the expected challenges maltsters will face, and to what extent they can overcome these difficulties that were caused by low-quality barley to still be able to produce malts with quality that breweries can accept. The presentation will focus on examining the influence of protein content of barley grains on processing and malt quality, the effect of pre-harvest sprouting damage on barley quality, and if we can use the affected barley to produce malt with acceptable quality.

2:00-3:00 PM From ‘Thoroughbred’ to ‘Avalon’: Building an Eastern winter malt barley breeding program from scratch

Speakers:  Nicholas Santantonio and Amelia Loeb (Virginia Tech University Small Grains Breeding Program)

Malt barley production is mostly limited to the dry climates of the upper Midwest and Northwest to avoid quality issues caused by disease pressure. The booming craft malting and brewing industry have recently sparked interest in locally grown malt in the eastern US. The small grains breeding program at Virginia Tech has been breeding disease-resistant and high-yielding feed barley types for decades, but with no historical focus on malt. Our program initially developed ‘Thoroughbred’ (2003) as a feed type, but it was later shown to have acceptable malting quality by the American Malt Barley Association. The success of ‘Thoroughbred’ and conversations with local craft maltsters and brewers led our program to initiate the development of two- and six-row winter malt barley cultivars specifically adapted to the eastern climate. Forming collaborations with western public breeding programs and European companies, we set out to incorporate western and European malting varieties into our eastern adapted feed barley germplasm. After ten years of breeding and selection, ‘Avalon’ was publicly released as the first winter malt barley specifically bred for the Eastern US in 2020, and has since been recommended by AMBA. We tell the story of ‘Avalon’ to showcase how the malt barley breeding program at Virginia Tech was started and what to expect from us next. We also describe how we are incorporating new technologies, including high-dimensional genomics and high-throughput phenotyping, to accelerate malt variety development and provide unique malting seed products to farmers, maltsters, and brewers in the East.

3:30-4:30 PM – Be Floored By Your Malt

Speakers:  Gabe Toth (The Family Jones), Curtis Davenport (Admiral Maltings), and Joel Alex (Blue Ox Malthouse)

Get a comprehensive overview of how to use floor malting to make excellent craft malt. Alex, Davenport, and Toth offer the combination of hands-on malthouse experience and a research perspective to explore fundamentals of floor malting, practical and technical considerations, and the opportunities and challenges involved in operating a floor maltings.

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