CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 17 Made in America: Part II - Page 82

W W W. C R A F T BY U M H . C O M in those magic parallels to grow hops, so malt was kind of the next best thing. Others were surprised to find out that they couldn’t get any local malt and saw that as a market opportunity. We also have several farmers who were looking for another way to make money, and to utilize their farmland efficiently. Barley is great for that, so we have a good mix of people who have farmed for very long time, who saw the opportunity to be able to grow malting barley and be able to then open their own farm malt house.” Blair shares her excitement around the number of regions creating new flavors and the variety of malt being produced by small malt houses. Mutual interest has fostered rich collaboration between universities like Michigan State, Virginia Tech, North Dakota State, and Purdue. New York has gone so far as to create a Farm Brewer license to incent and reward brewing with state-grown ingredients. The Northeast and Southeast are showing great promise, and despite Wendell Bank’s cautionary tale, the Midwest is also digging in asser- tively and experiencing rapid growth, putting Michigan, Ohio, Illi- nois & Kansas on Blair’s list of regions to watch. Less than 10 years ago, if a brewery wanted to brew with local grain, or if a farmer wanted to grow brewing barley, the brewery and the farmer were left to figure out largely DIY solutions, which included significant risk of time, energy, and money. Today, the Craft Malt- sters Guild, formed in 2014, reveals a community of almost 60 small- batch maltsters, across the US. These maltsters have come forward and come together to connect and improve their local agronomies, seeking answers to intriguing agricultural riddles, while developing practices to reliably deliver quality malt with unique regional signa- tures. For the sake of clarity and education, the Craft Maltster’s Guild closely mirrors the Brewers Association’s work in clarifying and defining who they represent and the criteria behind the term, “craft maltster.” The Guild’s definition is a maltster who produces between five tons and 10,000 tons of malt per year, sources over 50 percent of their grains from within a 500-mile radius, and are independently owned. In addition to the influx of maltsters, scholars, and farmers focusing on supporting this shift, independent, mercenary scientists joined up to help the cause. Prior to this recent explosion, all of the expensive, and necessary testing equipment that could guide farmers and malt- ster with timely, crucial data by testing barley before and after malt-