In recognition of National Craft Malt Week (September 22-29, 2023) and the 10-year anniversary of the trade association for the small grains movement, the Craft Maltsters Guild membership recently met to introduce the guild’s new executive director Alice Blayne-Allard and share the results of its recent malthouse survey.
Blayne-Allard brings with her a life-long passion for local sourcing and a breadth of malt-relevant knowledge from agricultural marketing to cooperage. Most importantly, her extensive nonprofit leadership and administration experience will be instrumental in supporting the craft malt community in its next big push for market share. “I’m that consumer who goes into a brewery or distillery and asks where the grains are sourced,” she said in the meeting. “One of my key objectives is to expand consumer awareness and raise understanding of why craft malt matters.”
The 2023 membership survey covered many topics including maltster education, products, distribution and marketing. Here are the key takeaways from its results:
- The majority (52%) of respondents consider themselves experts of the production or use of craft malt. “Had we taken this survey several years ago this number might have been lower,” said Brian Estes, LINC Malt co-wwner and partnerships director and vice president of the Craft Maltsters Guild board of directors. “Our membership continues to make tremendous strides in expertise and knowledge, which translates to knowledge and understanding of our customers too.”
- Survey respondents distribute their products across a broad geography and in a variety of formats of finished beers and spirits. “Some malthouses are working in a hyper-local way, and many respondents are also sending malt out of state and to broader geographic regions,” said Hillary Barile, Rabbit Hill Farms head maltster and board of directors president. “That means people are appreciating craft malt not just for its hyper-locality but also for flavor, alignment of business objectives, and more.”