Note: All times are in US Eastern Time.

Conference seminars, the trade show, meals, and associated receptions and social activites will be held at the Holiday Inn By the Bay Hotel & Convention Center.

Educational seminars on Friday and Saturday will be broadcast live via Crowdcast for virtual attendees. Recordings of each session will be available shortly after the live session ends. Learn more about our speaker lineup here.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

11:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Pre-Conference Tours

View full details and learn how to register for tours here.

6:00 – 8:00 PM – Welcome Reception

Friday, March 17, 2023

8:00 – 9:00 AM – Breakfast

9:00 – 9:30 AM Keynote: The Pursuit of Terroir

Speaker: Dr. Rob Arnold (Master Distiller, Author of The Terroir of Whiskey, and President of Advanced Spirits)

Dr. Rob Arnold will discuss the scientific principles of terroir, and how plant breeding, agronomy, flavor chemistry, sensory science, and plant operations can be intertwined to capture distinct, local flavors. His talk will review both experimental and anecdotal evidence for terroir’s role in beer and whiskey, as well as propose ideas to convey its importance to consumers.

9:30-10:00 AM – Celebrating 10 Years of Craft Malting 

Speakers:  Andrea Stanley (Valley Malt), Brent Manning (Riverbend Malt House), Twila Soles (Grouse Malt House), and Jason Cody (Colorado Malting Company)

In this retrospective panel discussion, Guild ED Jesse Bussard will lead a conversation with four veteran craft maltsters from across the US. They will talk about their successes and challenges over the past ten-plus years of malting, as well as their future hopes and concerns for the industry in the decade ahead.

10:00 – 10:15 AM Break

Breakout Session 1

(two sessions running concurrently)

10:15 – 11:15 AM – Malting in Maine: Building a Local Grain Chain in The Pine Tree State

Speakers: Joel Alex (Blue Ox Malthouse) and Joshua Buck (Maine Malt House)

Join Joel Alex of Blue Ox Malthouse and Joshua Buck of Maine Malt House for an overview of Maine’s approach to establishing a craft malting industry. From selecting the small grains grown, to developing their malthouses, and finally, to seeing it come full circle in the beer and spirits produced with the malts they make – the duo will discuss what it takes to build a local grain chain from the ground up. Expect to learn about the agricultural landscape of Maine and how malting and food grains fit into the state’s ag economy. Additionally, Alex and Buck will share lessons learned from developing their malthouses and how they went about forging strong relationships with brewers and distillers throughout The Pine Tree State.

10:15 – 11:15 AM – Unlocking Lager’s Mystique with Speciality and Craft Malts

Speakers: Sean Towers (The Seed: A Living Beer Project), Michael Fava (Sacred Profane Brewery), and Justin Slotnick (Schilling Beer Co.), moderated by John Holl (All About Beer Magazine)

Is craft lager having a moment? It’s certainly gained popularity on taproom menus around the country and is showing us the diversity of styles and flavors that can be enjoyed in this category. But where does craft malt fit into these styles that are so driven by the flavors and functionality of malt? This panel discussion brings together three brewers from the Northeast to discuss their lager programs and how, when, and why they choose to use or not use craft malts in the development of their beer recipes.

11:15 – 11:30 AM – Break

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Lunch Roundtable Discussions

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM – Trade Show and Sponsor Demos

Breakout Session 2 

(two sessions running concurrently)

1:30 – 2:30 PM – Malting Grains in the Northeast: Opportunities and Challenges for Farm Diversification

Speaker:  Heather Darby (University of Vermont)

Join Dr. Heather Darby, an Agronomist and Soil Specialist from the University of Vermont, to learn about growing grain in the Northeast. Adding small grains to a farming operation can provide many economic and environmental benefits but there are also many considerations to be made prior to diversification. This presentation will highlight the benefits of incorporating grains into Northeast rotations and the top considerations producers should make before forging ahead with a new enterprise. Specific management techniques including species and variety selection, soil fertility, and pests will be discussed as they relate to the Northeast climate.

1:30 – 2:30 PM – American Single Malt: The Next Big Thing In Whiskey

Speakers: Steve Hawley (American Single Malt Whiskey Commission), Andrew Meissner (Virginia Distillery Co.), and Murphy Quint (Cedar Ridge Distillery)  

American Single Malt is stepping out of the shadows and having its moment in the light. Join the President of the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission Steve Hawley as he moderates a panel featuring two distilleries at the forefront of the movement. Andrew Meissner of Virginia Distillery Co. and Murphy Quint of Cedar Ridge Distillery will share their perspectives on the impact of the category today, where they see it heading, and how craft maltsters will play a critical role in what comes next.

2:30 – 2:45 PM – Break

Breakout Session 3

(two sessions running concurrently)

2:45 – 3:45 PM – Malt As A Megaphone For Marketing Beer & Spirits

Speaker: Emily Hutto (RadCraft)

As B2B producers within a niche industry, craft maltsters have unique challenges in marketing their products. In this breakout session, Emily Hutto will dive into how malthouses can collaborate with their brewery and distillery customers to co-promote, and why they should. She’ll also discuss messaging and distribution tactics for engaging and inspiring your target audience.

2:45 – 3:45 PM – Reevaluating Distiller’s Malt Specifications for the Optimization of Yield and Distillate Quality 

Speaker: Kevin Brent Smith (Company Distilling)

In the production of American Whiskey such as Bourbon or Tennessee Whiskey where cereal grains comprise the majority of a grain bill, Distiller’s Malt which has higher enzymatic power is used in order to thoroughly convert the starches in those cereal grains to fermentable sugars. A high-quality distiller’s malt utilized at a sufficient inclusion rate (typically 8-15%) will ensure high fermentation yield and the complete reduction of residual sugars which might lead to poor quality distillate when exposed to the heat of distillation. This presentation will review the history of distiller’s malt and the significance of its quality parameters and specifications in contrast to those of brewer’s base malts. Furthermore, we will reevaluate the use of distiller’s malt and propose that a modified brewer’s malt combined with simple process changes can lead to significantly improved distillery yield and distillate quality without compromising whiskey category requirements or traditional distillery processes and whiskey organoleptic character.  

3:45 – 4:00 PM – Break

Breakout Session 4

(two sessions running concurrently)

4:00 – 5:00 PM – Welcoming Immigrants to the Workplace

Speaker: Claudette Ndayininahaze and Mary Faulkner (In Her Presence)

Participants will hear from a former national sales representative for Heineken in Burundi about her lived experience as an asylum seeker in the United States. Listeners will raise their awareness of different cultures and the experiences immigrants face in transitioning to life in the U.S. We will analyze barriers, including those inherent to the US employment system, and discuss how to successfully bridge the divide between immigrants and employers.

4:00 – 5:00 PM – Influence of Barley Variety and Growing Conditions on Beer Flavor Attributes 

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

Current studies focusing on if or how the effects of barley variety and growing conditions can pass through the malting and brewing processes to impact beer’s flavor attributes are very limited due to the complex nature of this kind of research. With the continued expansion of the craft brewing sector in the United States, Canada, and other parts of the world, there is increased interest in the importance of beer flavor imparted from specific barley varieties and growing regions. More maltsters and brewers are looking for opportunities to differentiate their products based on sensory and quality attributes related to raw materials like barley, malt, and hops.

In this study, using four Canadian two-row malting varieties grown at three locations over two consecutive growing seasons, the effects of variety and growing conditions on the overall quality of barley, malt, and beer, and beer’s flavor attributes were examined. In addition, some underlying volatile and non-volatile compounds in wort and beer were analyzed using GC-MS, NMR, and LC-QTF Mass Spectrometry in an attempt to understand if they are associated with beer’s sensory attributes.

Barley variety and growing location showed a significant effect on the overall quality of barley, malt, and beer. Limited varietal and locational effects on beer sensory attributes were recorded. Numerous flavor and aroma-contributing compounds detected in wort and beer showed statistically significant differences between the varieties and between the growing locations. The knowledge generated from this study can assist the industry in evaluating and accepting new barley varieties, and barley breeders in developing new varieties with desirable flavor attributes.

5:00 – 6:00 PM – Social Hour

6:00 – 9:00 PM – Reception Dinner and 2023 Malt Cup Awards Ceremony

Speakers:  Hannah Turner (Montana State University Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab) and Lindsay Barr (CSO and Founding Partner of DraughtLab)

Join fellow conference attendees for a reception dinner, followed by the 2023 Malt Cup Awards Ceremony where winners for the four malt style categories – Pale, Pilsen, Light Munich, and Vienna, as well as the recipient of the 2023 Soles of Malt Award, will be named. The Awards Ceremony will also be live-streamed on the Craft Maltsters Guild’s Facebook and Instagram channels, as well as YouTube.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

8:00 – 9:00 AM – Breakfast

9:00 – 9:30 AM – Craft Brewing Industry Update

Speaker: Katie Fromuth (Brewers Association)

Using Brewers Association statistics and data, this presentation will look at the American craft brewing industry and where it’s been, where it is today, and what might be in store for 2023. Factors such as climate change, supply chain, and innovation will be highlighted when looking at the industry’s most immediate challenges as well as successes.

9:30 – 10:00 AM – Craft Distilling Industry Update

Speaker: Becky Harris, Chemical Engineer and Chief Distiller (Catoctin Creek Distillery), and Board President (American Craft Spirits Association)

American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) 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 our findings draw a clear line between our industry and job development, agricultural growth, and increased tourism.

10:00 – 10:15 AM – Break

Breakout Session 5

(two sessions running concurrently)

10:15 – 11:15 AM – Design and Operate Your Malt Kiln to Optimize Productivity, Quality, and Efficiency

Speaker: Vince Coonce (retired malting industry veteran with past experience working with Cargill Malt, Great Western Malting, Briess Malt, and MillerCoors)

A poorly designed or operated malting kiln system can lead to failure in meeting your plant’s productivity, quality, and efficiency goals. In this talk, optimal equipment and process specifications for each operational element of the kilning system will be discussed.  Additionally, important kiln-driven malt quality issues will be examined, and detailed operational parameters will be presented for the production of different malts.

10:15 – 11:15 AM – Effectively Communicating with the Media

Speakers: John Holl (All About Beer Magazine), Carla Jean Lauter (freelance beer writer), and Rob Caldwell (NBC anchor and reporter)

Even a small business can have a comprehensive media plan. There are ways to get earned news coverage without the need for an outside agency or dedicated staff member. From drafting a proper press release to learning about news cycles and events, this seminar is stocked with seasoned journalists who can share practical tips on getting great media coverage.

11:15 – 11:30 AM – Break

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Lunch

12:30 – 1:30 PM – Trade Show and Sponsor Demos

Breakout Session 6

(two sessions running concurrently)

1:30 – 2:30 PM – The Production of Scotch Whisky: A Little History, the Role of Malt, Supply Chain Opportunities & Challenges

Speaker: David Griggs (Crisp Malt)

Whisky distillation is ingrained in Scottish culture with malting barley growing and the production of malt suitable for distilling having key roles in the quality and quantity of spirit laid down for maturation. This presentation will explore some of the rich history of Scotch whisky production, the contribution of different malt types to the final product, and the opportunities and challenges being faced by the distillers and their supply chain.

1:30 – 2:30 PM – Breeding Malting Barley Varieties for Non-Traditional Growing Regions: Challenges and Opportunities

Speaker: Dr. Mark Sorrells, Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics (Cornell University – Small Grains Breeding Program)

The re-introduction of malting barley production into non-traditional growing regions has created a demand for new varieties that tolerate the biotic and abiotic stresses prevalent in those regions. In 2012, the New York State Legislature passed the Farm Brewery Bill that gave tax and marketing incentives to breweries provided they use New York-grown ingredients. However, malting barley had not been grown in New York on a commercial scale since before Prohibition. Consequently, we initiated a high-intensity breeding effort in 2016 to develop a malting barley variety adapted to the northeastern U.S. ‘Excelsior Gold’ is a two-row spring malting barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) developed and released by the Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station in 2020 that combines spot blotch (Bipolaris sorokiniana Sacc.) and preharvest sprouting resistance (PHS) with local adaptation and acceptable malting quality. In statewide yield trials conducted by Cornell University, Excelsior Gold performed similarly to ‘AAC Synergy’ and ‘Newdale’ in yield and test weight, with an earlier heading date, higher PHS resistance, and greater height than AAC Synergy and Newdale. Excelsior Gold also has an improved FHB index compared to AAC Synergy and Newdale, and a lower DON than AAC Synergy. Excelsior Gold has a good malting quality profile compared to AAC Synergy but has elevated beta-glucan and lower free amino nitrogen. We will discuss strategies for reducing the time required to develop a new malting barley variety as well as biotic and abiotic stresses encountered in the northeastern U.S.

2:30 PM – Conference Closes

Optional Re-scheduled Conference Tour

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM – University of Southern Maine Quality Control Collaboratory Tour

The University of Southern Maine’s Quality Control Collaboratory (QC2), founded by Luci Benedict, Ph.D., in partnership with the Maine Brewers’ Guild, provides state-of-the-art laboratory analysis and testing for the craft beverage industry. QC2 has worked with over 80 brewers in New England—and some in Texas and Chicago—as well as with companies producing boozy seltzers and ciders. All the lab’s testing services are performed by QC2’s highly-trained team of undergraduate students; USM students benefit from real-world laboratory experience, and brewers benefit from the data they generate!  You’ll have questions, so many questions.

Location (Google Maps)

Room 394, Science Building
70 Falmouth Street
Portland, ME 04101
Phone:  207-780-4722

Travel Time from Hotel: ~5 min (1.1 miles)

Craft Malt Con attendees are welcome to visit the QC2 Lab on Saturday, March 18 from 3 PM – 5 PM EST. On-street parking is available to visitors, some metered, some free. A few things to note: no food or drink is allowed into the space. Individuals visiting the lab are advised to wear closed-toed shoes and protective eyewear. Safety glasses will be made available to anyone who doesn’t have them.