Bozeman, MT (September 10, 2020) – A third COVID-19 impact survey conducted by the Craft Maltsters Guild shows most craft maltsters are open for business but are still adapting to the challenges the pandemic has imposed. The Guild represents the interests of small-batch, independent maltsters in North America and abroad. Information about earlier surveys can be found here:  Survey 1: April 2020, Survey 2: May 2020.

A collective of 32 craft maltsters from the US and Canada responded to the survey which was sent out to Guild Member Malthouses in late July. The results showed while sales continue to remain down for some maltsters, year-over-year volume sales and revenue are trending positively for the majority of malthouses.

“My drop in sales seemed to be temporary,” said Matt Cunningham of Rustic Brew Farms in Marysville, OH. “All or most of the sales losses reversed once Ohio opened back up and demand seems to have slightly risen since the shutdown.”

It also appears furloughs and layoffs may be slowing. The craft maltsters who responded to the survey stated they employed a total of 133 workers. Since the pandemic began, malthouses reported furloughing or laying off 22 workers, two-thirds of which were full-time. Only 7 full-time and 7 part-time new hires were mentioned.

Early on, the pandemic forced several large maltsters to cut grower contracts for the upcoming year. Craft maltsters, for the most part, seem to be taking the wait-and-see approach. Of the malthouses surveyed, 74% noted they have no plans to make changes to grower contracts for the coming year. 10% of maltsters said they were considering making reductions. Only 16% had reduced future contract volumes.

Looking to the future, craft maltsters appear cautiously optimistic with a heartening 50% reporting they feel much more or somewhat more optimistic since we last surveyed them in May 2020.

“We’ve experienced a steady increase in malt orders since May,” said Chase Leftwich of Fort Worth, TX-based TexMalt. “Our customers have been able to navigate these trying times and the worst seems to be over. The majority of breweries and distilleries are back open to some capacity and the public response has been very positive.”

Along with increased optimism, craft maltsters’ confidence in their ability to sustain their businesses was notably high. A hefty 78% stated they were extremely confident and the remaining 22% somewhat confident their malthouses will still be in business at the end of the year.

Visit the Guild’s Coronavirus Resource Center to learn more about our response to COVID-19 and to find resources on relief efforts and coping during the pandemic.