Riverbend Malt House 2023 Year In Review


ASHEVILLE, NC— The first craft malthouse in the South had a strong year of business growth, community development, and customer engagement in 2023. Here is the Riverbend Malt House 2023 Year In Review.

Production and Capacity

In 2023, Riverbend Malt House malted almost 4 million pounds of craft malt, which included flagship styles as well as custom and smoked malt for specialty projects.  This number represents a growth of more than 20 percent over 2022.

The malt house added conveyance equipment that allowed for the filling of its first bulk truck orders in 2023. This exciting upgrade will allow them to fill silos across the region with top quality local malt.

In response to the growing demand for smoked malt, Riverbend additionally installed an unloader that will allow for more seamless transportation of smoked malts from their retrofitted shipping container smokehouse⁠. 

Local Farmers and Customers


In 2023, Riverbend sourced grain from family-owned farms across the Southeast region, including North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky  Virginia, Georgia, and Florida—  all within 500 miles of the malthouse. Learn more in Riverbend’s video Craft Malt Powered By Family Farms. 

Riverbend sold malt to more than 300 breweries and distilleries in 2023, a figure that includes more than 70 new customers. 

Malt Innovation

Riverbend’s malt portfolio grew to include seasonal products that included the Hickory King Corn variety as an addition to Riverbend’s malted corn products. The malt house’s ongoing experimentation with kilning regimes coupled with customer demand yielded a new year-round Crystal 50 product as well. 

Riverbend’s ​​stock of Avalon 2-Row barley bred by the Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center increased exponentially in 2023, which allowed for the malt house to craft both a Pale and Pilsner styles of this variety.  “Adoption of Avalon has happened quickly throughout the Southeast and we were excited to have lots from North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee to work with this year,” says Riverbend Malt House Co-Founder Brent Manning.

2023 brought many custom malt projects to Riverbend Malt House, including a malt made with a custom water profile to mimic the water chemistry found in Belgium. This custom malt, Farmhouse Pilsner, was first crafted for Little Animals Brewery and Leveller Brewing collaboration beer. 

Malt With A Mission 

In total, Riverbend redirected approximately 200,000 pounds of waste from landfill in 2023.

In partnership with the local cattle operations, Riverbend composted 15 tons of organic waste and diverted 30,000 pounds of polywoven plastic from the landfills this year; a malt bag recycling program activated by the Asheville Brewers Alliance and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. 

Also in 2023, Riverbend was pleased to become the first malt house licensor for Beer To Bags, a North Carolina-based innovator in the upcycling space turning spent malt bags to create stylish totes.

Riverbend upgraded all 141 of our light fixtures to LED panels in September. Installing these panels will result in a 64% reduction in power consumption associated with factory lighting. These efficiency improvements resulted in a 12% reduction in energy consumption in Q4 2023 compared to 2022.

Riverbend Malt House made a donation to Waterkeeper Alliance for each of the 2023 customer surveys they received. 

Finally, Riverbend was pleased to donate Calypso barley seed to Community Malt spearheaded by Harlem Brewery. This is a collaborative initiative for Black and BIPOC farmers in North Carolina and Virginia who are cultivating small grains as a viable crop. ⁠

Events & Community

Riverbend Chesapeake Pilsner malt was selected as the single malt in the recipes at the 2023 Florida SMaSH Festival. This annual gathering, hosted by Hourglass Brewing and B.E.A.R.D. to raise funds and awareness for A Spoon Full of Hope, raised $16.027.74 in support of sustainable careers in the food industry; all the while showing off the prowess and creativity of Florida craft breweries. 

Riverbend Avalon Pilsner is the feature malt of the 2024 Florida SMaSH Festival. “We’re beyond excited to sample what will undoubtedly be a full-color spectrum of expressions of Avalon from so many different breweries,” says Manning. 

Riverbend was proud to be a part of five beers brewed around International Women’s Day in support of the Pink Boots Society; the Birmingham brewers collaboration beer, BirmingHelles made with the first malting barley grown in Alabama at WK Farms in Hamilton AL, that Cahaba Brewing spearheaded; and a second year of the Brick Store Pub Craft Malt Showcase of Southern beers made with Riverbend malt.  

Riverbend and Bootleg Biology hosted the successful inaugural Southern Lager Invitational at Harding House Brewing Co. during the 2023 Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville. This celebration of classic and innovative lagers that feature Southern-grown ingredients will return in 2024, slated to take place on May 25 at The Mule in Asheville. 

Riverbend’s Co-Founder Brent Manning presented at the Craft Brewers Conference, providing a summary of the successful Farm To Tap festivals and guidance for successful event management. Manning also took part in several conferences, sharing 10 years of craft malt memories at various trade events, including the North Carolina Craft Brewers Conference and MaltCon2023. 

Awards & Accolades 

2023 marks the sixth consistent year of Riverbend’s Living Wage Certified Employer status from Just Economics. It also marks Riverbend’s second consecutive year named on the  Inc. 5000 list. In August, Riverbend was named number 3,992 of the fastest growing private companies in the country in this prestigious ranking. 

Throughout the year, many of Riverbend’s customers were recognized by multiple awards programs for beers made with Riverbend malt– including the Great American Beer Festival®, the World Beer Cup®, the U.S. Beer Open, the North Carolina and South Carolina  Brewers Cups, the Florida Brewers Ball , and the Good Food Awards

Contact Emily Hutto at hutto@radcraftbeer with media inquiries about Riverbend Malt House. 



Riverbend Malt House is on a quest to connect Southeastern family owned farms and fermenters. Co-Founders Brent Manning and Brian Simpson launched Riverbend, the first craft malthouse east of the Mississippi River, in Asheville, North Carolina in 2010. Buoyed by a 70,000 foot production facility and state of the art equipment, Riverbend Malt House helps breweries and distilleries large, small, and in-between stand out with flavor, locality, and community in an increasingly competitive landscape— all the while challenging the status quo of corporate, big-agriculture malt. Learn more at riverbendmalt.com.