2022 Craft Malt Conference – Speakers

Lindsay Barr is the CSO and Founding Partner of DraughtLab Sensory Software where she works with food and beverage companies to apply tasting data to inform Product Development and Quality Control. Lindsay got her start at New Belgium Brewing Company as the Sensory and Consumer Research Specialist. For five years she served as the chair of the American Society of Brewing Chemists Sensory Committee where she co-authored seven new globally adopted sensory evaluation techniques. She holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of New Mexico, and a Masters in Food Science and Technology from the University of California, Davis. With DraughtLab, she’s published numerous industry-standard lexicons, including the Beer Flavor MapTM, and is continuing to develop tools that make the world a more delicious place.

Luci Benedict has been a professor of chemistry at the University of Southern Maine (USM) since 2007. In 2016 she founded the Quality Control Colaboratory (QC2 Lab) at the USM. The QC2 lab is a unique laboratory devoted to supporting both craft brewers and USM’s undergraduates. The lab supports craft brewers by providing analytical and microbial testing services, education on starting and growing a laboratory QC program, and research. All of the services and research done by the QC2 lab are supported by our trained undergraduates, providing our students with an engaging research and laboratory experience.

Harmonie Bettenhausen is the current Director of the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food & Beverage where she is focused on collaborative research and extensive testing involving grains, malts, beer, and spirits.  She recently completed her Ph.D. in the Heuberger Lab at Colorado State University where she specialized in flavoromics and investigation of barley, malt, and beer. Her publications have covered not only these topics, but also areas as broad as peppers, wheat, and chocolate. Harmonie has been involved in the brewing industry since the early 2000s and is now extensively investigates the relationships of the barley, malt, and beer metabolome to sensory and quality factors. Her most recent published work involves chemical analysis of the hot steep and its relationship to both malt and beer quality and flavor.

Jen Blair is the co-host of the beer and brewing podcast False Bottomed Girls. She is an Advanced Cicerone and a National BJCP Beer Judge. She is also a member of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Governing Committee and the chair of the AHA Industry subcommittee.



Emily Cayer is the coordinator of the Northeast Grainshed Alliance (NGA).  Emily grew up knee-deep in the streams, swamps, and lakes in Western Massachusetts. This evolved into a career as a biologist and conservation program coordinator in Montana, and a Threatened, Endangered, and Diversity program coordinator with Alaska Fish and Game for over 20 years. Her work bringing traditional cattle ranchers, NGOs, and state and federal agencies together to save a native Montana fish, was the highlight of her career. This instilled her passion for bringing people together for a common goal. Her work with the NGA parallels the watershed scale work of the West as she helps coordinate a grainshed in the East. Emily returned to the east in 2019 and lives in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont with her partner, dog, a draft mule, and 2 donkeys.

Vince Coonce brewed his first batch of beer in 1982. Fascinated with everything beer, he pursued a brewing-focused graduate program at Oregon State University, obtaining dual Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering and Food Science. Vince has worked for over 30 years in the malting and brewing fields, holding positions with Cargill Malt, Great Western Malting, Briess Malt, and MillerCoors. His adventures have taken him all around North America and Europe. In malting, he has been a quality manager, pilot maltster, production maltster, plant operations manager, process engineer, and plant manager, and Malt Research and Development manager. He has made malt bound by every conceivable worldwide malt analytical specification, developed process automation systems to improve quality and save energy, designed and piloted malt plant wastewater treatment processes, and collaborated with researchers at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven while living in Belgium.  In brewing, he managed brewing operations, became an ASQ Certified Reliability Engineer as a Brewing Reliability Engineer, and worked many years as the MillerCoors Milwaukee Brewery’s Technical Brewer.  Today, Vince consults for the malting and brewing industry, specializing in quality, capacity, and efficiency improvement, pilot malting, new product development, and plant design. Vince spent many years on the Master Brewers Technical Committee and is an active MBAA volunteer; he is currently a member of the ASBC, MBAA, IBD, and Craft Maltsters Guild.

Bruce French obtained his undergrad Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Guelph, Canada, and a Management Certificate from the Canadian Institute of Management. He has been involved in malting for forty years, training as a maltster with Canada Malting and learning the craft of making malt while making malt at various malting plants, and working on process improvement and plant automation projects.  During the last thirteen years with GrainCorp Malt, he held roles in operations and malting retiring as Director of Malting and Technical Services for North American operations.  Bruce’s responsibilities within this role included malt production and malt shipment quality, process support and optimization, product development, product safety, HACCP, production quality management systems, laboratory operations, and technical support for brewing customers Grain Corp North American Operations. Prior to completion of full-time work, Bruce joined Schill Malz in Germany as Director of Production, spending two years with key responsibilities for malt quality, optimizing and management of the malting process for malt export opportunities, and domestic malt Business. Bruce served as a member of the new variety malt quality evaluation committees of both AMBA and the BMBRI. Since “retirement” Bruce works as a technical consultant primarily in the craft malting industry, assisting in the design of malthouses, malthouse start-ups, malt process training, and process optimization. Bruce enjoys passing on his knowledge of malting to the next generation of maltsters.

Jay Hamachek is a result-driven industry leader in award-winning and innovative environmental, safety, and health solutions. He is globally recognized for guiding companies and organizations to achieve dynamic cost-effective environmental and social governance strategies and solutions. Jay has 40 years in the international malting industry. As the Global Director of Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) for United Malt Group (UMG), Jay partnered with the Board of Directors, senior executive management, employees and lead the United Malt Group international EHS team. Jay is currently President of Elk Rock Solutions LLC and focuses on helping clients develop, implement, and maintain social governance programs, including occupational safety and health systems. Jay consults for an Oregon municipality providing sustainability advice and direction. He also served as President of the Lake Oswego Corporation and was instrumental in improving lake safety, sustainability, and the overall direction of the corporation and its stakeholders’ needs. Jay has a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management from George Fox University. Jay lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and enjoys hiking, fly fishing, paddle boarding, and traveling.

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.

Kyle Hurst is an owner and co-founder of Big aLICe Brewing Company, which has a production facility and taproom in Long Island City, Queens (its original location), a barrel-aging location with an additional taproom in Industry City, Brooklyn, and recently expanded to New York’s Finger Lakes region adding a production facility and taproom in Geneva, NY. He began homebrewing in the late 1990s while living in his home state of Wisconsin. In 2008, Kyle moved to New York, where he continued his passion for homebrewing. This intense passion for brewing led to the eventual founding of Big aLICe in late 2011, which is one of the first farm breweries in New York City. The brewery began production in 2013, starting out with manufacturing beer only to satisfy subscriber orders in 10-gallon batches with hyper-local ingredients. Because of increasing popularity, which was evident from the growing waiting list for subscribers, Big aLICe significantly increased its production capacity and opened its first taproom in Long Island City the following year. In addition to his daily duties and responsibilities with Big aLICe, Kyle has been very active in the New York City brewery scene. He helped organize local breweries for NYC’s first neighborhood brewery tour and Queens Beer Week. Kyle has also been on the board of the New York City Brewing Guild (NYCBG) since 2015 and served as Vice President from 2016-2019.

Emily Hutto is a Colorado-based beer journalist-turned-craft beverage publicist. After years of freelance writing and authoring the book Colorado’s Top Brewers, she founded RadCraft in 2012 to serve the communications needs of maltsters, brewers, and distillers. Learn more at www.radcraftbeer.com.


A former professor of Communication Studies, Dr. J Jackson-Beckham dedicated her academic career to the study of American beer. Today, she helps craft beverage organizations develop inclusive, equitable, and just practices that drive success, build communities, and empower individuals through her consultancy, Crafted For All, LLC. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Craft x EDU (pronounced “craft by E-D-U”), a nonprofit whose mission is to champion equity, inclusion, and justice in the craft brewing community through education and professional development. She is an author, speaker, and vocal advocate for the craft beverage community. In 2018, Dr. J was named the Brewers Association’s first-ever Diversity Ambassador. Today, Jackson-Beckham leads the Brewers Association’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) department as the association’s Equity & Inclusion Partner. 

Rhonda Kallman has over 35 years of experience in the alcohol beverage industry and is considered one of America’s beverage industry thought leaders. Kallman was instrumental in paving the way for craft beer acceptance by making it available throughout the US while educating consumers on American craft beer superiority. In addition, as a pioneering woman in the beer industry, she was able to lead the way for other women to earn the respect and credibility they deserve. In 2012, Kallman founded Boston Harbor Distillery, creating proprietary craft spirits that integrate rich history, distinctive experiences, beverage culture, and Boston pride into each bottle it produces. Housed in a pre-Civil War era building overlooking Boston Harbor, this urban distillery serves as an educational facility, event space, and a production facility that handcrafts Boston’s finest spirits featuring Putnam New England Whiskey varieties; Demon Seed Whiskey; award-winning innovative Spirit of Boston— distilled from Sam Adams beer varieties a testament to her beer industry legacy; Lawley’s Small Batch Gin & Rum and craft disruptors Boston Harbor Maple Cream & Coffee Liqueurs and ready-to-drink Espresso Martini. Kallman is also a co-founder of New Century Brewing Co. (2001) and The Boston Beer Company (1984) and has received numerous industry and civic awards and recognitions.

Jon Kielty is the Head Brewer and Production Manager for Big aLICe Brewing in New York State. Based in New York City, he brews and oversees all of the brewery’s day-to-day production in the original location in Queens, handles and oversees all barrel aging operations at the brewery’s Barrel Room in Industry City Brooklyn, and oversees all brewery production at the newest location in the Finger Lakes. In addition, he is responsible for recipe development, quality assurance, and building and maintaining relationships with New York State farmers, maltsters, and partners. He first joined Big aLICe as a volunteer 6 months after the brewery opened before leaving his job in construction less than a year later to pursue his passion of brewing craft beer full time in 2013. As the Head Brewer since 2017, he has earned numerous medals and awards at the state, national, and international levels. Most recently, Jon and his team were named the 2020 Small Craft Brewer of the Year and Small Craft Brewery of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival. The same year they were awarded the Governor’s Cup for Best in Show and 2 gold medals at the New York State Craft Beer Competition for a 100% New York State beer. Jon is passionate about brewing locally sourced beers as he strives to embody the brewery’s tagline “Agriculturally Focused”. He is a member of the New York State Farm Brewing Committee and has worked to build long-lasting and meaningful relationships with local maltsters and farmers while gaining a deeper understanding and respect for the ingredients they brew with.

Jason Parker is Co-Owner and President of Copperworks Distilling Company, a craft distillery located on the downtown Seattle waterfront. Jason began his career in the alcohol industry in 1989 helping open iconic craft brewers in the Seattle area, including Pike Place Brewery, Fish Brewing, and Pyramid Breweries. Copperworks was launched in 2013 with co-owner, Micah Nutt (a long-time homebrewing friend), to explore the flavor possibilities of brewing a high-quality malt-based craft beer (without hops) then distilling that into fine spirits. Besides barley-based beverages, Jason enjoys playing bluegrass mandolin, hiking, and traveling with his girlfriend, and rock climbing.

June Russell is Director of Regional Food Programs at the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming, specializing in grains and staples. June has acted as a value chain coordinator for the revival of grains, flour, and other foods in the Northeast for over a decade. June was formerly with GrowNYC where she spearheaded GrowNYC Grains, a ten-year initiative utilizing multiple strategies across sectors to develop a market for regional grains. The initiative has resulted in dozens of new varieties of small grains, beans, and other staple crops coming to the consumer market, providing farmers with opportunities to diversify and regional food systems to scale. In her role at Glynwood, she will continue to work with stakeholders to build markets for emerging crops in tandem with climate adaptation strategies that strengthen regional food systems.

Austin Schumacher is one of the co-founders of TexMalt and is currently the business development director. For the past 6 years, Austin has been dedicated to producing high-quality local malt for brewers and distillers across the Southwest. Austin enjoys homebrewing in his spare time as well as traveling with his wife and two young children.


Alex Speers is an Honorary Professor at ICBD at Heriot-Watt and an Emeritus professor at Dalhousie University. Born in Creston, BC, he gained a B.Sc. (Agr.), M.Sc., and Ph.D. at UBC in Vancouver. In the past, Alex has been employed in the Quality Assurance Departments of both Labatt and Molson Breweries. His research interests include various aspects of the malting and brewing processes including fermentability, yeast flocculation, fermentation modeling, extract calculations and the properties of (and problems created by) barley malt. He has organized, presented, or judged brewing meetings in, America, Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, and Scotland. Dr. Speers has spent sabbaticals at CUB/Fosters and the Columbia Brewing Company. He was a past Chair of the Editorial Board of the MBAA Tech. Quarterly. A reforming Academic, Alex belongs to several professional societies and is a member of the editorial boards of the J. ASBC, JIB, and the Tech. Quarterly. He has published or presented more than 200 papers and is a Fellow of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. He was awarded the: W.J. Eva award, (Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology, 2011); Eric Kneen Award, (American Society of Brewing Chemists, 2017); Award of Merit, (Master Brewers of the Americas, 2017) and is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Brewers (London).

Sean Sullivan has served as Executive Director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild since 2013. Prior to his work with the Guild, Sean worked in product design/ development at LLBean, ran an environmental nonprofit, and co-founded a buy local gift card company which was acquired by a financial institution in 2015. Under Sean’s leadership, the Guild has grown to represent nearly every single brewery in Maine, worked with federal and state governmental, agricultural, and for- and nonprofit entities to grow the Maine craft beer brand and market share locally and internationally. He lives in South Portland, Maine with his wife and their son.

Randy Thatcher takes a hands-on, engaged approach to running the family-owned and operated West Branch Malts & Distillery. He was educated as a Maltster by Hartwick College, NY in 2016. As a vocal supporter of the local movement, he enjoys exploring local breweries, restaurants, and music venues, and tells others to, “vote with your dollars!” He loves spending time with his kids; especially outdoors in the Cuyahoga Valley National Parks or the Metroparks – hiking the trails, kayaking, or mountain biking. Randy is a firm believer in treating customers as partners, with a “shared success” strategy in mind.

Hannah Turner has been involved in plant science research for the past decade, receiving both bachelor’s and Masters’s distinctions, and has acted as Director of the Montana State University Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab since 2016. Hannah’s research career began with the investigation of the pathways leading to starch production in plants while her current role revolves around malting and making grain starch accessible for the brewing and distilling process. MSU’s Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab performs both research and service, providing data for the Universities’ Barley Breeding Program and industry members across the barley value network. Research focuses include innovative projects such as improved barley for craft malting, barley and malt flavor, and improved throughput analysis for breeding program selection. Hannah works closely with the American Society of Brewing Chemist’s Technical Committee, leading the Malt Subcommittee which works to develop and streamline methodologies for malt quality analysis. Hannah also serves as chair for the Guild’s Technical Committee, which develops educational and practical tools for the industry. When not in the lab, Hannah spends time enjoying Montana with her husband and three-year-old.

Samantha White joined the Quality Control Collaboratory at the University of Southern Maine in January 2020. Sam holds a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Philosophy. As Lab Coordinator, Sam works with brewers and undergraduate students to support the great work done at QC2. When she’s not in the lab, Sam enjoys exploring the wilds of Maine and New Hampshire with her dog, Douro, who is the best boy.

Other confirmed conference speakers and panelists include the following:

  • Chuck Skypeck, Brewers Association

More details on these individuals are coming soon!

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