In the past year, LCS has had an opportunity to begin building a relationship with the North American Craft Maltsters Guild (CMG) as an associate member of their organization. The CMG was created to promote and educate the general public about the tradition of craft malting in North America – while providing valuable resources to the emerging industry. It’s hard to believe, but just ten years ago, it was not possible to drink an “all local” pint of beer in the US. Today, there are beers on tap that have traveled less than five miles, from where the barley was planted in a field to where the beer is being served. Amazing!

Each year, the CMG hosts an event in collaboration with the Hartwick College Center for Craft Food and Beverage, called the ‘Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend.’ I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 FBWW this February in Oneonta, NY. For two full days, more than 100 people in the industry, including farmers, maltsters, brewers, university educators, Brewers Association staff and seed company representatives discussed every aspect of these emerging craft supply chains. The craft brewing industry has always been characterized by a passion for quality and unselfish desire to see all succeed, and this spirit is very much alive, all the way down to the farm level – in large part because of the work the CMG is doing to connect and educate people.

The most exciting part of the FBWW was to see how this group has integrated regionally to create value and solve problems together. The idea that brewing companies are invested in learning more about the impact of barley field agronomics, or that farmers are learning how their crop management practices affect the amount of beer than can be made from their barley, is pretty exciting stuff. Events like the FBWW showcase why the words ‘Craft’ and ‘Quality’ are starting to become synonymous is this industry. And on a side note, there was never more than a four hour period that passed between samplings of grain to a glass of beer. You can’t really top that! I am pretty excited to continue being involved with the CMG and their Farmer Brewer Winter Weekend events in future years.

Cheers –

Zach Gaines,

Technical & Marketing Manager