“Global Crises Spur More Local Beers.” That’s on Joshua Bernstein’s list of beer industry trends to look for this year that just posted on SevenFifty Daily.

It’s true— the global supply chain is making ingredient purchasers turn to their backyards to source malt that’s not just local and readily available, but higher in quality and better performing in brewhouses.

We’re proud to have Virginia Tech’s Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center in our backyard, where small grains researchers have developed barley varieties able to weather our distinct climate in the Southeast.  Such efforts will “support a more diverse and durable crop of quality malting barley for the challenges ahead,” as our Co-Founder Brent Manning was quoted.

Now that’s malt with a mission. Read the article here.

The climate of the commodity grain supply chain in 2022 was bleak, to say the least. Our customers vented about shipping delays and inconsistencies, corporatization, and price upsurges— all served with a side of obtuse sales strategies and degraded product quality. As occasional issues turn endemic, we continue to scrutinize our malt quality, business model, and customer service standards. And we’re proud to report that our proactive mission has mitigated reactivity to the aggressively changing malt industry.

From day one we’ve been committed to high quality malt sourced from regional, family farms that we deliver on time. It’s that simple, and we plan to keep it up.

Kate Bernot of Good Beer Hunting recently covered the ramifications of increasing malt prices on the beer industry in an impressive piece that delves into the craft malt industry at large. We were honored to be among the voices of the craft maltsters she profiled, who include Valley Malt and Root Shoot Malting. Included in the dialogue was a quote from our CEO Scott Hickman who said, “There’s been this bizarre inversion, and we have found ourselves being less expensive than a couple of the big malt suppliers in certain situations.”

Bernot’s words are a poignant, timely read for anyone involved in the industry. In so many spaces like this one she hits the nail on the head when she describes why this topic matters.

With the price gap between craft malt and commodity malt narrowing, some brewers and craft maltsters believe now is the time for craft malt to finally compete economically against its larger counterparts. Given high shipping costs, a brewery may save additional money by sourcing its malts from its region rather than from across the country or overseas.

 

Read the full article on Good Beer Hunting.

We’re thrilled to return to the Florida Beer Blog! This time David Butler hosted our Florida, Georgia, and Alabama Territory Manager Tyler Adams for an in-depth conversation about craft malt– including the malting process, SRM, smoked malt, custom malt projects, single-origin Pilsner varieties like Chesapeake Pilsner and Cumberland Pilsner, and Florida 401 Grain Rye (commonly known as Florida Black Rye), to name a few of the topics they covered.

Listen to the episode here.

 

Pictured: Tyler on Eight Foot Brewing + Grand Central Brewhouse collaboration brew day earlier this year. 

As the number of breweries in North Carolina continues to increase, so too have the number of ancillary support businesses, says WNC Magazine in their latest article about the local beer scene. “Businesses such as White Labs, an international producer of yeast, and Riverbend Malt House, a craft grain maltster, offer easy access to quality ingredients, saving time and money as well as helping brewers produce better beer in a competitive marketplace.”

We’re proud to have grown up in the North Carolina beer scene, and thrilled to see its growth!

Read on to hear from many of our malt customers— including Bhramari Brewing, Burial Brewing, Asheville Brewing, Hi-Wire Brewing, Hillman Beer, Homeplace Beer Co., New Belgium Brewing, Outsider Brewing, Riverside Rhapsody, and Zillicoah Beer Co.

 

 

 

 

Tis’ the season for holiday gifting, and what better way to treat the sweet tooth in your life than a bar of locally made, craft malted chocolate in their stocking? The Bean To Barstool podcast interviewed our co-founder Brian alongside the French Broad Chocolates co-founder Jael Skeffington about this storied product. Also featured in this episode is Kyle Spears & Dan Lauro, the brewers at Carillon Brewing Company in Dayton, Ohio, who brew with Riverbend malts in their historical ales.

Listen in here, and get your French Broad Malted Milk Chocolate bars here.

West Virginia Beer Roads, a podcast all about beer from a West Virginia perspective, hosted us for an all-about-malt episode. On the show with us was Weathered Ground Brewing Co., who use Riverbend malt in many of their saisons

 

They tasted Weathered Ground’s Of The Sun and Moon and Stars, which uses Cumberland Pilsner as a base with the additions of Heritage Malt and Appalachian Wheat in the grist. “We want a low color, lightly kilned malt for this basic Saison grain bill to make a light beer that’s crisp and straw colored. Cumberland Pilsner has neutral fresh bread, biscuit, cracker flavors that let the yeast shine. As it gets warmer you can taste that malt coming through. It’s a great base malt for Saisons.”

 

They also dug into our history aligned with barley crop production in the Southeast, single origin Pilsner craft malt varieties, the Craft Maltsters Guild Certified Seal, and more.

Listen in!

Another day in August, another podcast. This time we’re delighted to be guests on UnCapped, hosted by Chris Sands who asked Brent all about the malting process in Episode #285. They dig into the benefits of using craft malt, and our #Riverbend10 film too.

Listen in!

Jimmy Carbone of Beer Sessions Radio has taken a major interest in craft malt over the past year. From university research to farmers and producers of craft beer and spirits made with craft malt all over the country, we’ve been loving his thorough coverage of what’s happening across the industry.

Earlier this month, Jimmy hosted Brent to chat about Craft Malt Week, relationships with farmers, our recent expansion, and what the heck a GKV (Germination Kiln Vessel) is– among many other topics. Listen in on episode 639!

As the temperatures warm and the barley starts to dry down, I know it is time for a gathering in the fields. Annual field days offer the perfect opportunity for researchers to share their latest work with an audience of interested growers and maltsters. A few weeks ago, we met at the Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Warsaw, VA for just such an occasion: Virginia Small Grains Field Day I’m always impressed by the size and scope of the work conducted here— more than 200 acres devoted to a mix of malting barley and red winter wheat research.

In true barley geek fashion, I was super excited to learn more about the release of Avalon, the first 2-row malting barley to be “born and bred in the South”. 

I still remember our first meeting with Dr. Carl Griffey and Wynse Brooks from Virginia Tech back in the early days of Riverbend Malt House. We had a lively discussion about malting barley in the Southeast, which was basically non-existent in 2012. We asked about the potential for a 2-row winter barley variety that could match specifications from the more traditional growing regions. We also pitched them on the dramatic growth of the craft beer industry, which was growing at double digit rates back then.

They offered a window into their work, helping us to understand the process of crossing different varieties (aka germplasm) with the goal of improving yield, disease resistance, and a host of other factors. Combine that variety development work with nutrient and fungal management studies and you have a robust program perfectly suited to support the craft malting industry

But wait… there was a catch. They politely told us we’d have to wait up to 10 years for a 2-row malting variety to make it to production. I remember thinking What? I have to wait? I just told them how fast the industry is growing! 

Flash forward to 2022, and the first commercial harvest of Avalon is here! Check out this Virginia Tech article about how the Extension Center is leading an effort to establish Southwest Virginia as a top producer of malting-quality barley to boost the state’s craft beer industry.

 

What can we expect from this variety, you ask?

Early pilot malting revealed some beautiful flavors. Notes of rich fruit, freshly baked cake, and honeysuckle were all detected at a fairly low SRM. Commercial-scale runs will give us an even better idea of the flavor options available to us as either a Pale Ale or Vienna-style malt.

I’m happy to report that Avalon also shines in the analytical department. We have seen consistently high extracts, low beta glucan levels, and strong enzyme performance.

This release is a fitting crescendo to the long and successful careers of both Dr. Griffey and Brooks, both who have announced their retirement plans. The craft malting community of the Southeast owes much to their efforts and wish them well in the years ahead!

— Brent Manning

Beer Us! In this episode of DC Beer‘s Beer Me podcast, we dive into our #Riverbend10 film, sustainable practices, and a little malt production 101. Listen in!