2022 Craft Malt Conference – In-Person Event Schedule

 Learn more about our speaker lineup here.

Note: All times are in US Eastern Time.

Day 1 – Friday, February 18th, 2022

8:00-9:00 AM  – Breakfast

9:00-9:15 AM – Opening Ceremonies & Welcome Address

Speakers: Brent Manning (Craft Maltsters Guild Board President and Co-Founder of Riverbend Malt House) and Sean Sullivan (Executive Director of the Maine Brewers Guild)

9:15-9:45 AMKeynote Speaker Address

Speaker:  June Russell (Director of Regional Food Programs at the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming)

In her keynote, Russell will connect her deep knowledge of the history of regional grain economies in the U.S. to the innovative work that our members are doing, offering a holistic view of how craft malt production is an asset to the burgeoning small grains movement.

9:45-10:00 AMBreak

Track Focus:  Brewing and Distilling, Malt Quality

10:00-11:00 AMThe Role of Malts in Beer Quality Testing

Speakers:  Luci Benedict (Professor of Chemistry and Founder of the University of Southern Maine Quality Control Collaboratory) and Samantha White (Lab Coordinator USC Quality Control Collaboratory)

From mashing to canning, beer goes through a variety of quality control tests to ensure it meets the brewer’s specifications. As one of the four main ingredients in the brewing process, malt plays a huge role in the outcomes of many of these analyses. In this talk, we will cover the wide variety of testing options for beer quality, and highlight the tests that are influenced by the malts brewers chose to use in their brews.

Track Focus:  Malt Quality, Agriculture

10:00-11:00 AMThe Year the Rain Never Stopped: Barley Trends, Tales from the Trenches, and Can We Climb Out of the Mud?

Speaker:  Harmonie Bettenhausen (Director of the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage)

North American small grains growers were dealt a challenging hand in 2021. One of the most extensively damaging and difficult hurdles presented was pre-harvest sprout damage to cereal crops such as barley, wheat, and rye. At the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food and Beverage in 2021, trends showed variability in germination energy and water sensitivity in many different varieties of the aforementioned cereal grains. This presentation will discuss the analysis and interpretation of these observations and trends, as well as how they affect maltsters and end-users like brewers and distillers. This will follow with a discussion on the need for germination testing prior to planning a malting regime (i.e., don’t assume a Certificate of Analysis from six months ago is still relevant) and when and why it should be done. Finally, a small experiment was designed to “retest” an old hypothesis regarding heat treatments to break water sensitivity. A summary of the outcome of that experiment and its effects on barley dormancy and vigor on the tested common varieties will be shared.

11:00-11:15 AM Break

Track Focus:  Brewing and Distilling, Malt Quality

11:15 AM – 12:15 PMPremature Yeast Flocculation in the Brewery

Speaker:  Dr. Alex Speers (Honorary Professor at Heriot-Watt University International Centre for Brewing and Distilling and Emeritus Professor at Dalhousie University)

This presentation will outline a problem brewers experience when fermenting malt causes Premature Yeast Flocculation or so-called “PYF.” After discussing the technique to measure PYF we will present preliminary work comparing traditional pneumatic malt to floor malt. Premature yeast flocculation is a difficult behavior to measure in the fermentor as day-to-day variability in the brewery can mask yeast settling. To overcome this issue the malt is normally tested in the lab by undertaking a standard mash and fermenting the resulting Congress wort with a lager yeast using an American Society of Brewing Chemists-approved PYF method. Fermentation curves comparing the yeast in suspension versus time for a control to a suspected PYF malt were analyzed using an improved PYF technique. After discussing these methods, data comparing floor and pneumatic malt from single-sourced CDC Copeland barley will be presented. In this preliminary study, little difference in beer brewed with the two malting techniques was observed.

Track Focus:  Malting Process and Technology

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM Steeping: An Overview of Process Management and Equipment Design Requirements

Speaker:  Bruce French (Technical Malting Consultant and a former employee of Schill Malz and GrainCorp Malt)

Steeping is a critical first step in the malting process. This presentation will provide an overview of steeping, with a detailed discussion of its objectives, process monitoring, and management. A review of the history of steeping technology and how it has evolved to meet present-day industry requirements will also be shared. Lastly, the strengths and weaknesses of current steeping technologies in use in today’s malting operations will be discussed.

12:15 – 1:15 PMLunch

1:15 – 2:15 PMTrade Show and Sponsor Demos / Research Poster Exposition

Track Focus:  Brewing and Distilling, Business, Sales and Marketing

2:15 – 3:15 PM Locally Sourced, Agriculturally Focused

Speakers:  Kyle Hurst and Jon Kielty, Big aLICe Brewing Company2020 Great American Beer Festival Small Brewing Company and Small Brewer of the Year

Big aLICe Brewing Company Owner Kyle Hurst, and Head Brewer Jon Kielty, will discuss their experience operating as one of the first Farm Breweries in New York City. Together they’ll cover a variety of topics including the history of the brewery, operating sustainably, and how they’ve been able to expand under the Farm Brewery license in New York. This session will be focused on why sourcing locally-grown New York State ingredients is something Big aLICe is passionate about, and how the brewery has been able to successfully market their beers and educate their following on why they should care about locally-sourced ingredients as much as they do.

Track Focus:  Employee Health and Safety

2:15-3:15 PM Malting and Brewing Safety

Speaker:  Jay Hamacheck (President of Elk Rock Solutions LLC and the former Global Director of Environmental, Health, and Safety of United Malt Group)

The last two years (2020, 2021) have been a wild ride with COVID-19 greatly impacting customers, employees, and sales. At the same time, the pandemic has made the malting and brewing industries more aware of safety’s impact in workplaces. Over the last ten years, over 8,000 employees have been injured in the United States malting and brewing industry resulting in over 12,000 lost or restricted workdays. During this period, state and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors also did a deep dive into brewery and malthouse workplace hazards, the result of which was 463 inspections that found 360 violations and caused $1,226,554 in penalties. This session will look at the variety of potential hazards that can injure malting and brewing employees and trigger OSHA violations. You will also learn three proven steps to help ensure the safety of employees and help prevent OSHA violations. These three direct steps will help employees stay safe, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.

3:15-3:30 PM – Break              

Track Focus:  Brewing and Distilling

3:30-4:30 PMBeyond Brewing:  Malt Meets Distilling


When craft malthouses start looking for customers, craft breweries are the first that come to mind. But it’s important maltsters cast their nets out to craft malt’s newer customer base – craft distilleries – too. This panel will discuss the American Single Malt Whiskey movement, the economics of the craft distilling industry, the dynamics of working with craft distillers, and the potential market growth the direct-to-consumer sales movement promises to craft beverage producers.

Track Focus:  Agriculture, Sustainability

3:30-4:30 PMHow Many Square Feet of Farmland Are You Supporting by Drinking That Beer?

Speaker:  Emily Cayer (Coordinator of the Northeast Grainshed Alliance)

The Northeast Grainshed Alliance (NGA) is a group of farmers, entrepreneurs, and grain advocates collaborating to revive a system of grain grown in New England, New York, and New Jersey. As a network, we connect everyone on the grain supply chain, collaborating to strengthen the footprint of grain-based foods and beverages in our region. One new method of connecting and strengthening this footprint is through SQFT Project. The SQFT Project was launched in Fall 2021 to establish a stronger connection between Northeast farmland and our local beers, bread, and spirits. The SQFT logo that grain businesses use represents the square footage of farmland used to grow the grains in each product. For instance, a loaf of bread generally takes the grain grown on 18 square feet of land; beers generally take four square feet. The numbers in the SQFT logos on each product will help consumers connect their purchases to the work of grain farmers in our region. Brewer Barry Labendz of Kent Falls Brewing came up with the concept as he was trying to help brewery guests understand the physical link between beer and barley. A painted area of four square feet in size at the Connecticut farm brewery still helps tell the story of regional grains, and members of the NGA are excited to have a tool to spark conversations about the importance of Northeast grain farming.

4:30-6:00 PMNetworking Event (Details TBA)

6:00-9:00 PMReception Dinner and 2022 Malt Cup Awards Ceremony 

Day 2 – Saturday, February 19th, 2022

8:00-9:00 AMBreakfast

9:00-9:30 AMCraft Brewing Industry Update

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.

9:30-10:00 AMCraft Distilling Industry Update

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.

10:00-10:15 AMBreak

10:15-11:15 AMWorking 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.

11:15-11:30 AMBreak

11:30 AM-12:30 PMLunch Roundtable Discussions (More details coming soon!)

12:30-1:30 PMTrade Show and Sponsor Demos / Research Poster Exposition 

Track Focus:  Malt Quality, Sensory, Sales, and Marketing

1:00-2:30 PMApplying Sensory Methods to Produce and Sell Malt


Speakers:  Lindsay Barr (CSO and Founding Partner of DraughtLab) and Jen Blair (Advanced Cicerone)

Craft maltsters go through great lengths to make the best product, but in the end, success comes down to only one thing: Does the consumer like your product? In this seminar, you’ll learn how to apply tools like the Hot Steep Method and Malt Flavor Maps™ to engage your customers while informing product development decisions. Case studies from across industries will be presented to display how businesses of any size can leverage tastings to develop products and drive sales.

Track Focus: Sustainability, Malting Process and Technology

1:30-2:30 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.

2:30-2:45 PMBreak

Track Focus:  Malt Quality, Sensory, Agriculture

2:45-3-45 PMTasked with Terroir: One Approach to Defining Environmental Impacts on Malt Sensory and Function

Speaker:  Hannah Turner (Director of the Montana State University Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab)

Beer styles have long been described with reference to their geographical origin. Taking a cue from brewers, our work goes deeper by looking at how malt’s environmental origins, specifically minerals, can impact the final product via flavor and process. Preliminary results will be presented along with strong arguments for ionic composition as an integral piece to defining barley terroir.

Track Focus:  Malting Process and Technology

2:45-3:45 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.

3:45-4:00 PMBreak

4:00-6:00 PMClosing Reception (Details TBA)

Back to Conference Main Page