Good grain news continues to hit my inbox. As reported in January from the American Malting Barely Association — via the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s annual 2022 Crop Production and its quarterly Grain Stocks reports – malting barley production was up significantly last year. The 2022 harvest was estimated at 174 million bushels, up a whopping 45 percent from the 2021 total of 120 million bushels. That’s a bit deceiving, as 2021 saw a 30 percent drop in production due to a variety of factors that included drought, less plantings and less yields.
So, the harvest was average, which means less imported malt for craft brewers, and I’ll take that as a win. I’ve also been soaking up some good news from the malt houses. Here’s an example: Riverbend was named one of the fastest growing private companies in the country by Inc. in August 2022, which was just one of many highlights last year for the N.C.-based craft maltster. In 2022, Riverbend Malt House malted 3.3 million lbs of craft malt, which included mainstay styles as well as custom and smoked malt for specialty projects. This production level was 28 percent higher than in 2021. Read all about Riverbend right over here.
There’s also cool association news: The Craft Maltsters Guild recently awarded six scholarships for the 2023 Craft Malt Conference, which happens March 16-18 in Portland, Maine. All six of these scholarships are going to women, which is awesome. This is the second year of the guild’s scholarship, which is intended to provide educational opportunities to “historically excluded racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and disabilities,” according to its website. In addition to conference participation, all scholarship recipients will also receive a complementary one-year membership with the guild. From the article by Jesse Bussard:
The recipients of the in-person scholarships are Elia Gomez Smith and Kayla Stinnett. Smith is a student in the University of California San Diego Extended Studies brewing program who is fascinated by the process of malting grain at a large scale. She has a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and she’s currently working as an educator for the San Diego Mycological Society.
Stinnett is a craft beer marketing professional who has helped spearhead the “Pour Us Another: Celebrating Women and Craft Beer” event through her work with Cahaba Brewing in Birmingham, Alabama. She’s a member of Fermenta and the Pink Boots Society who’s working towards her level II Cicerone certification while developing her business plan for her own brewpub, Stargazer Brewing Company.
The recipients of the virtual scholarships are Tiffany J. Pilson, a farmer at Red Flower Growers in Detroit, Michigan; Aline Duarte Correa de Brito of Brazil who is studying koji in her Ph.D. program and has attended a Mastering Malt course (Mestre Malteiro) at ESCM (Blumenau – Brazil); LaShanda Poteat, a Pink Boots Society member and entrepreneur based in Graham, North Carolina; and Caitlyn Jordan a Fermenta member and Brewers Association mentee who lives in Birmingham, Alabama.
This is a very cool initiative, so kudos to the guild. Also cool: The Craft Maltsters Guild’s six annual Craft Malt Conference will take place next month, and 2023 will mark the organization’s 10th anniversary. Tours, educational seminars, receptions, tradeshow hours and networking sessions will all to take place at Holiday Inn By the Bay Hotel & Convention Center in Portland, Maine. Register right here.