The craft malt scene continues to gain a lot of steam, and it’s a segment you should start paying more attention to, especially after experiencing the vulnerabilities of our usual supply chains. Diversifying your malts and finding some more local sources just might make for smart business in addition to fantastic new beers. But where to start?
Look no further than the 2022 Craft Malt Conference. Over the last two weekends of February, the virtual even featured 233 attendees from 24 states and 18 countries attended and was full of valuable education.
“The 2022 Craft Malt Conference was exciting because presentation after presentation showed that the industry is growing and maturing,” said Jennifer Breckner, the Guild’s 2022 Craft Malt Conference Marketing & Events Associate. “Kyle Hurst and Jon Kielty of Big aLICe Brewing Company discussed how their profitable business model is centered on award-winning beers that highlight locally and sustainably produced ingredients; a panel on the burgeoning European craft malt scene cited as an influence, the pioneering work done by U.S. craft maltsters; and Avalon, a malted barley variety bred by Virginia Tech to work well in an Eastern U.S. climate, was created specifically to accommodate market demand. There is a bright future for craft malt if we can adapt to the challenges brought on by the pandemic and climate change.”
The bit you might want to take note of though, was the Malt Cup competition, which received submissions from all over the globe: 25 malthouses submitted 58 entries spread across three malt style categories: Pale, Pilsen, and Pale Ale—all base malts.
Rabbit Hill Malt of Shiloh, NJ was named Best in Show and took home the coveted traveling Malt Cup.
“The Malt Cup has been a great opportunity for us to evaluate our flavor. This is our second year entering, and we took the feedback from last year’s competition,” says Hillary Barile, Rabbit Hill Malt Co-Founder and Board of Directors Vice President. “We would really recommend to anyone who wants to do a deep dive on their flavor to enter.”
Here are all of the medal-winning malthouses by category:
Gold: Rabbit Hill Malt
Silver: Admiral Maltings – Alameda, CA
Bronze: Riverbend Malt House – Asheville, NC
Gold: Wyoming Malting Company – Pine Bluffs, WY
Silver: Gallatin Valley Malt Co. – Manhattan, MT
Bronze: Gold Rush Malt – Baker City, OR
Pale Ale Malt
Gold: Voyager Craft Malt – Myall Park, NSW, Australia
Silver: Wyoming Malting Company
Bronze: Root Shoot Malting – Loveland, CO