Mainstem Malt continues to set the bar high as a craft malt industry role model and powerful voice for sustainability, diversity, and the greater good. The malting company was founded by Phil Neumann and Alyssa Martinez Neumann with the intent to build innovative malt supply chains that were transparent, increasingly sustainable, and supportive of the rural communities where they work.
In 2014, these visionaries decided to harness their experience in agriculture and conservation, shift the farm dream to a processor dream (at least to start), and begin building a malt company as a way to support positive change across agriculture and beverage industries. Mainstem Malt was born.
Phil and Alyssa recognized that craft malt had the potential to bring the locavore movement into craft beer and spirits, connect agriculture to the communities that depend on it, and ultimately empower the end consumer to make important choices about the future.
Phil Neumann explains, “When we first started Mainstem, transparency in malt wasn’t really a thing, and we recognized a huge growth opportunity for small producers. The first wave craft maltsters like Valley Malt and Riverbend were onto something big. A second wave was coming. We knew that if we could help solve the supply chain transparency problem, we could all get consumers involved and invested enough to help us rebuild this industry from the ground up.”
Mainstem Malt has a unique business model and is one of a few maltsters in the Guild that relies on the malting capacity of partnering craft malt houses. This model has enabled them to leverage the expertise and resources of huge networks and focus their limited resources on progress in overlooked areas like conservation.
A great example is how they’ve helped proliferate the Salmon-Safe certification of family farms in the Pacific Northwest grain economy. This farm-scale certification focuses on soil and water quality, riparian buffers and habitat, and uses wild salmon as an indicator of overall ecosystem health. Mainstem was the first maltster to certify its malt as Salmon-Safe and continues to source 100% Salmon-Safe grains to this day, making it one of the more noteworthy value-added conservation success stories for cereal grains at large.
In Mainstem Malt’s next chapter, they’re taking their mission a step further by inviting even more people into the mix with their Mainstem For All crowdfunding campaign. Through the Wefunder platform, Mainstem became the first maltster to crowdfund in April of 2021. The campaign aims to raise money to keep building the future of craft malt in more ways than one, with diversity, equity, and inclusion as a top priority.
When a company raises capital from investors, conventional wisdom says to keep the number of investors to a minimum; reduce the potential for future conflict, and keep the upside benefits concentrated. Well, Mainstem is taking pretty much the exact opposite approach with Mainstem For All. The idea is to invite an unprecedented amount of diversity into their company as bonafide owners.
“Not just because we think it’s the more equitable and inclusive thing to do,” Phil says, “but because we think these new owners will significantly improve the way our company thinks, behaves, and performs financially in a complex world.”
To learn more about Mainstem’s vision for malt that matters, visit mainstemmalt.com.
To join the Mainstem team as shareholders, visit wefunder.com/mainstem.maltd