Toast to them this Women’s History Month!
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re here to tell the story of how women in the craft malt space have contributed to our history and will shape our future. We’ve chosen five women who have been critical to the Guild’s success and whose businesses have re-energized the craft malt movement at large.
First up is Andrea Stanley, a woman who has played a pivotal role in the craft malt revolution and whose history with the Guild goes back to day one. Stanley founded Valley Malt in 2010, one of the first craft malthouses in the U.S. and one of the eight founding craft malthouses that came together to form the Craft Maltsters Guild. In addition to her job at Valley Malt, Andrea took on the role of the first Board President of the Guild and has helped pioneer where we are today. With the help of people like Lindsay Barr, Founder of Draught Lab, and Cassie Porier, formerly with Briess, Andrea developed a lexicon for malt taste and aroma as well as the hot steep method. She was also the creator of Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend, an event that connected brewers and distillers to the farmers and maltsters and served as a meeting place for people across the industry to collaborate and learn. This event transformed into what we know and celebrate now as the Craft Malt Conference and is just one example of the many ideas she brought to life.
Twila Soles also served as a founding Board Member of the Guild and was instrumental in supporting start-up craft maltsters and fostering their growth. She introduced the Soles of Malt in memory of William Soles, an award adopted by the Guild that honors selfless and philanthropic stewards of craft malt. In addition to her contribution to the Guild, she is recognized as an innovator who pushed the industry forward and founded Grouse Malt House, one of the first malthouses in Colorado, and one of two dedicated gluten-free malt houses in the country. Grouse Malt House is USDA Organic and certified gluten-free and provides over 20 gluten-free products to breweries nationwide. Soles has doubled her production capabilities every year since 2016 to keep up with demand, and she continues to push the limits in flavor and create new products in the gluten-free craft malt space.
Hillary Barile is the current Secretary of the Guild and just returned for her second term on the board of directors. Barile is a maltster, farmer, and partner at Rabbit HiIll Farms and has a big picture lens of how agriculture, commodity farming, and malting translate to the consumer. Barile has gone above and beyond to help the Craft Maltsters Guild grow over the past four years and is always searching for strategies to build more environmentally and economically sustainable farm systems. Hillary is always bringing people together and as Secretary of the Guild, she works hard to put collaborative ideas into action that propel the industry forward.
Hannah Turner is the Director of the Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab at Montana State University that works to improve barley varieties and offers barley and malt testing for farmers and craft maltsters. Turner has been an active Board Member since 2018, and in that time, she has made significant contributions to the research and educational programs the Guild offers. She played a key role in organizing and co-teaching the Guild’s flagship academic course and developing new member benefits. She is constantly providing new insight into research and malt analysis and is currently working on a trial that evaluates the flavor profiles and genetics of over 300 heirloom barley varieties in an effort to investigate ways to characterize malt terroir.
Jesse Bussard is the Executive Director of the Craft Maltsters Guild. As Executive Director, Jesse manages all moving parts of the Guild, which requires a strong mind— and her hand in everything. Jesse has put ideas and practices into place that have amplified the Guild’s reach and have been instrumental to the Guild’s growth and success. Jesse does all she can and more to engage in and benefit the craft beer and malt community. In addition to her role at the Guild, she’s on the board of Southwest Montana’s Bridger Brew Crew, a member of the Montana Chapter of Pink Boots Society, a homebrewer, and craft beverage journalist with many freelance bylines. Jesse is always looking to tell craft malt stories, and for ways to make the world a better place.
It’s safe to say that the status of craft malt in North America would not be as established if it weren’t for this group of women. We raise our glasses to them and so many others making an impact in the barley industry and their communities. Cheers to women in craft malt!