The start of a new year has brought with it a multitude of excellent new stories and podcasts featuring craft malt. Read on for our first quarter recommendations on the best reads and listens from across beer, spirits, and ag media.
- Maine is on our minds and the early-December Good Beer Hunting story “Do What’s Right — Maine Beer Company in Freeport, Maine” by Matt Osgood highlights this brewery’s commitment to always “do what’s right” for the environment by using beer as a vehicle to foster positive change in their communities. Even better, they brew their beer with craft malt from our friends at Maine Malt House in northern Maine.
- In late December, Kate Bernot dug into the discussion around rising malt prices in “Fields of Gold – As Barley Prices Rise, Craft Malt Hopes to Shine with Greater Cost Parity” on Good Beer Hunting Sightlines. “Long a premium ingredient, the price gap is shrinking between craft malt—barley and other grains malted by small, regional maltsters—and products offered by multinational companies,” wrote Bernot.
- Podcast listeners can tune in to hear Guild Executive Director Jesse Bussard on The PorchCast Ep. 100 via PorchDrinking.com where they discuss the growth in the craft malting industry over the past decade and what to look forward to on the horizon.
- In “Roasted Malt’s Role in the New Whisky Frontier”, Guild Member Malthouse Red Shed Malting of Alberta spoke with some of their distiller customers to find out how they’re pioneering new flavors with specialty malts. According to Matt Hammill, “We interviewed a handful of distillers to find out how they’ve incorporated roasted malts into their single malt programs, and what we found is that we are truly at the start of a new frontier.”
- What trends can we expect to see in the coming year? Jay R. Brooks says craft malt is here to stay in “California’s craft beer trends for 2023: From experimental brews to CBD what?”, published on SiliconValley.com. “With smaller craft malting businesses — think Alameda’s Admiral Malting and Sonoma’s Grizzly Malt — catering to small breweries, it’s becoming easier for brewers to highlight the different malts they use. You’ll be hearing a lot more about where your beer’s malt comes from this year,” wrote Brooks.
- In early January, Wine Enthusiast covered the death of craft distilling pioneer Steve McCarthy in “The Unexpected Story Behind the First American Single Malt.” While more widely known for his work making American fruit brandies in the style of Europe’s eau de vie, McCarthy played a key role in paving the way for American single-malt whiskey, a category on the rise today.
- Guild Member Malthouse Cold Stream Malt & Grain Co. was spotlighted in “How Do You Add Value to Commodity Crops? Build a Niche Market, Proves Idaho Operation”, on Farm Journal’s AgWeb.com. “By processing and marketing the barley ourselves, we’ve added value beyond what we would typically receive through our traditional marketing channels,” notes farmer Christopher Riggers.
- Probably our favorite read of the quarter is this next Good Beer Hunting story by South African beer writer, Lucy Corne. Combining craft beer and conservation to make “Elephant-Friendly Beer – Okavango Craft Brewery in Maun, Botswana” works with a cooperative of local farmers growing millet (like in the photo above) using “elephant-aware” practices. “Okavango uses millet in all of its beers, in proportions ranging from 20% right up to 100%,” writes Corne and malts the elephant-friendly grains in-house with the help of a rudimentary malting setup which produces around 260 pounds of malted millet per month.
- Another one for podcast lovers, listen to the January 20th Beer Sessions Radio on the Heritage Radio Network episode, “We’ve Reached a New Level”: 10 Years of the Craft Maltsters Guild” for a preview of what’s to come at the 2023 Craft Malt Conference and then join us in Maine for the big event March 16-18. Register here.
- We wrap up this list with a Country Guide story about another Canadian Member Malthouse – Maker’s Malt. In “Craft maltster and farmer thrives by sheer determination,” published in early February, read about how Matt Enns turned a value-add idea into a thriving venture despite all the other priorities that take up every farmer’s life. “Five years ago, there was no such thing as a craft malthouse in Saskatchewan. Today, Maker’s Malt has effectively cornered the market as the province’s leading proponent of it.”
We hope you enjoy these kernels. Have news to share? Submit your Craft Malt Certified story or Malthouse News and we’ll help spread the word!