DAVIS, CA – The Craft Malt Conference (aka MaltCon) took place at the University of California Davis in February. Organized by the Craft Maltsters Guild, the conference serves to gather stakeholders and grow the market for regional, artisanally-produced malted grain in geographies around North America and beyond. The Craft Maltsters Guild is pleased to report on its international attendance, six scholarship recipients, host of Malt Cup winners, and the recipient of the Soles of Malt award.

The conference itself consisted of two days of networking and technical sessions with some of the industry’s leading experts. Pre-conference events included a four-day Advanced Class in Craft Malt Production; a day of malt quality judging for the Malt Cup; and a welcome reception at Admiral Maltings in Alameda, where participants could tour a production-scale floor malting operation while sampling dozens of beverages made with craft malt from around the United States.

More than 150 individuals from 11 countries participated in this year’s conference across virtual and in-person formats. Of those, more than 120 attendees traveled from North America, Europe, and Asia to participate in the in-person programming.

Approximately one third of MaltCon2024 participants represented malting operations. Brewery and distillery producers comprised about 9 percent of attendees. The remaining participants were university researchers, professors, sponsors and other allied trade professionals, and members of the media. Six farm operators were in attendance. 

Six scholarship recipients participated in this year’s conference:  Don Tse, Lee Dongwook & Katherine Olson (shared), Angelo Ruiz, Rodney Zinyemba, and LaShanda Poteat. Meet the 2024 scholars here

2024 MALT CUP 

The Craft Maltsters Guild’s Malt Cup remains the world’s only malt quality competition, inviting maltsters of all shapes and sizes to compete for the best malt in various common categories. This year’s Malt Cup expanded to six categories: Caramel, Light Munich, Pale Malt, Pilsen, Vienna, and Wheat. Entries in these categories came from 26 malthouses in five countries. Malt Cup entries were scored in three rounds by 70 judges, a process facilitated by the Montana State University Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab, and DraughtLab

Congratulations to Hogarth Malt, named Best in Show in the 2024 competition, who took the coveted traveling Malt Cup home with them to Alberta, Canada.

Here are the medal-winning malthouses by category:


Pale Malt


Light Munich

  • Gold – Root Shoot Malting
  • Silver – Hogarth Malt
  • Bronze – Field Five Farm



Watch the replay of the 2024 Awards Ceremony at maltcon.online


Given annually over the past seven years, The Soles Of Malt award was created in memory of craft maltster William Soles and stands for selfless and philanthropic stewardship of craft malt. Each year, a selection committee considers a wide range of craft malt community members and ultimately must make a tough decision. Congratulations to the 2024 Soles of Malt Award recipient, Dr. Patrick Hayes, Professor Emeritus at Oregon State University, who was nominated by multiple Guild members this year for his work furthering malt education, developing new barley varietals, and establishing the OSU Research Malthouse– among many other milestones in his career. Hayes says he’s been privileged to work with an evolving team of colleagues at Barley World until his retirement in 2023. 


The Craft Maltsters Guild extends gratitude to the 2024 Craft Malt Conference keynote speakers Dr. Patrick Hayes and Dr. Xiang Yin, Vice President for Corporate Quality and Innovation at the Rahr Corporation in Minnesota; and all of the experts who contributed their insights and research to this year’s programming. Speakers represented various roles in the small grains supply chain and intersecting industries, including barley breeders, farmers, maltsters, brewers, distillers, professors, students, and scientists. 


The Craft Malt Conference is made possible by generous organizations committed to supporting our members with their contributions. 

Presenting Partners

Malters Advantage


Supporting Partners

Kaspar Schulz

Laizhou Yingtai Machinery Co., Ltd

Buhler Group

Valued Partners

MSU Barley, Malt & Brewing Lab


Sudwerk Brewing Company

Community Partner

Admiral Maltings  


A special thank you is owed to several individuals who contributed substantial volunteer support via the Guild’s Conference Planning Committee: Harmonie Bettenhausen of Hartwick College, Campbell Morrissy of pFriem Family Brewers & Oregon State University, Glen Fox of UC Davis, and Curtis Davenport of Admiral Maltings. Harmonie and Campbell were particularly influential in the development of the conference program. Glen provided key support on behalf of the conference venue. Curtis ensured that conference attendees left feeling inspired about the impact and potential of regional craft malting facilities.

Contact Emily Hutto at [email protected] with media inquiries about the Craft Maltsters Guild or the 2024 conference.



Formed in 2013 by eight craft malthouses, the Craft Maltsters Guild’s mission is to promote and sustain the tradition of craft malting in North America, provide services and resources to the Association’s members, and uphold the highest quality and safety standards for Craft Maltsters. Learn more about the Craft Maltsters Guild at www.craftmalting.com