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Jon Mendrick

Jon Mendrick is an avid, long-time homebrewer and beer enthusiast. He owned Mountain Homebrew in Kirkland, WA for 18 years before joining the Country Malt Group Sales Team covering the Northwest. These days, when he’s not enjoying time with his family on a mountain somewhere with a beer under a rainbow, you can find him running around Washington, Idaho & Montana visiting many of the same customers he taught how to brew many years ago!

Matt Chalmers

Matt Chalmers is the Country Malt Group’s Territory Manager for Eastern Canada and Maine, striving to provide the best service possible to our customers. When not working, Matt gets creative with CMG’s latest ingredients as a homebrewer. Matt’s friends affectionately refer to him as “Super Nintendo”, thanks to an episode of the Simpsons.

Tim Burke

Tim Burke has 18 years of experience in food and beverage, with 9 years in the beer and brewing space. With Country Malt Group, he has had the privilege to work with some of the most creative and passionate people in the industry. He has also been fortunate enough to visit and consult with craft breweries and distilleries in over 25 States and 3 Canadian Provinces, visit hop farms and conduct hop selections in Yakima Valley, walk barley fields in Idaho and the Canadian Prairies, and visit malt houses in Canada and the US giving him a unique perspective of the growing craft brewing and distilling industry.

Tony Little














Key Points From This Episode:

  • How was this year’s hop harvest?
  • How did yield compare to previous years?
  • Any differences in milling the new crop
  • How is the quality looking?
  • When can we expect to see the new crop changeover for bag and bulk?
  • What do maltsters do to ensure stable quality?
  • How is barley a global commodity?
  • What are the benefits of having two harvests?
  • How do you read COAs?
  • Why is forecasting important?
  • What are some of the challenges of growing malting barley over other cereal crops?
  • Abi recaps all the exciting new products we rolled out this year, and teases what you can look forward to next year.

Transcript - Why You Should Give a Crop



Toby (00:09):
Welcome, everyone to the season finale of the BrewDeck Podcast for season four. I got Adam, Cheyenne, and Heather, co-hosts here. How y’all doing?

Adam (00:21):
Wonderful. How are you?

Toby (00:23):
I’m pretty damn good. Thank you.

Heather (00:24):
I’m doing pretty good here.

Toby (00:24):

Cheyenne (00:29):
Doing good here as well. I’m amazed that we’re at the season finale already. It flew by.

Toby (00:33):
Yes. And looking back, as far as the podcast goes, we’ve been looking at the lineup of what we put forth to the listeners. I mean, everything from water chemistry, we talked about pilsner’s box, head retention, brewery expansion, distilling, barrels, hop harvests, women and brewing, talking about our flaking facilities, or facility. And then we also spent some time talking about rising hope, giving away some Pilsen Fest, dogs barking. We talked about it all. Y’all hear that? He’s an animal back there. Anyways, I’ll work through it. Yeah, [inaudible 00:01:13]-

Heather (01:12):
It’s about time a dog showed up on the podcast. I feel like that’s the first time we’ve had our dog show up when we all have dogs.

Toby (01:19):
We’ve had children, I believe

Heather (01:21):
We did have children.

Cheyenne (01:21):

Adam (01:24):
Yeah. Yeah.

Toby (01:24):
So, what’s been y’all’s favorite, a good memory, looking back on 2024?

Cheyenne (01:30):
I’d say for me, my favorite episode was actually our two-parter on safety. The Safety Is No Accident. I thought that one was great. It’s an underrated topic, but very important, and I think that our guests were really great on those episodes.

Toby (01:45):
Hundred percent. We had Jeff Erway from La Cumbre, and then Matt Stinchfield, the BA safety ambassador. Yeah, that was a awesome show.

Cheyenne (01:54):
He was great, yeah.

Heather (01:54):
And that was a topic that we had, actually had requested from listeners. They wanted to hear about brewery safety, so I thinks that’s really cool.

Toby (02:03):
Yeah. Yeah. I also enjoyed episode 16, if y’all remember, it was Rebuilding Lives one Beer at a Time.

Adam (02:10):
That was a great one.

Toby (02:11):
Where we had Homes for our Troops on, the crew over there, to talk about what they did for troops. That was a cool episode.

Cheyenne (02:22):
That one was great.

Adam (02:23):
As a Canadian, I found that one super interesting, because it’s not as prevalent up here as it is down there. So I thought, I found that one to be really cool. There’s a lot of good information on there and just what’s happened with that was amazing.

Toby (02:40):
Yeah. And then I guess we should give you thumbs up, Adam, for joining our crew on the podcast side this year.

Heather (02:47):
You had fun.

Adam (02:48):
My favorite episode was Follow the Grainbow, because-

Toby (02:51):
Thank you.

Heather (02:51):
That was a great episode.

Toby (02:51):

Heather (02:51):

Toby (02:53):
Yeah, some will say Adam’s made a huge impact on our team. Some are like, “What is he doing here?”

Heather (03:01):
I’m the, “What is he doing here?”

Cheyenne (03:04):
He brings the dad joke.

Toby (03:05):
That’s right. Right. Yes, Heather. Yeah. What I will say was we learned this morning, looking back and our warmups for the week, but we did increase our, correct me if I’m wrong here, but increase our new listenerships out of all the country bases here. It’s like Canada, the new listeners have increased more than any other country, and Adam is probably going to take complete responsibility for that.

Adam (03:34):
I stole my wife’s phone and I play the podcast on her phone and then my phone and then her computer and my computer, so-

Toby (03:42):
That’s what I told the group today, it was just you listening over and over and over and over again.

Heather (03:50):
Yeah, Adam throws it out there to his entire family and everybody’s listening.

Toby (03:52):

Adam (03:52):
All the time.

Toby (03:52):
Yeah, we’ve had a really great, I mean, I couldn’t even go through all of the breweries and distilleries we’ve had on. But just to name a few, we had Cigar City on, Martin House, your buddy at Concession Road, Adam Falberg, as I mentioned, La Cumbre, so just an awesome array of guests this year.

Adam (04:10):
Yeah, I’d say that the guests that we’ve had on are so knowledgeable and love what they do, and you feel it come across with every one of these episodes. We always had the discussion before the episode that, yeah, how are we going to stretch this out? But then we get to talking to these men and women, and everybody just has so much to offer that we’re just like, okay, cool. Now how are we going to cut this back a little bit to fit?

Toby (04:36):
Yeah. Yeah.

Heather (04:36):
That’s why we end up with so many two-parters, because we’re like, “Oh, we can’t cut any of this out. All of this information is really important.”

Toby (04:43):
Yeah, absolutely. Well, the other thing that I think we’ve, we spent quite a bit of time on, it did pretty well is, we did a lot of live episodes. Well, we call them live, right? But it’s just a fly by the seat of your pants, on the spot, and that was at CBC, ASBC and then two malting courses.

Heather (05:01):
Yeah. Those were fun. I really liked doing the malting course ones. That was new this year, because we finally got the malting course back for both Great Western and Canada Malting this year. So it was really, really cool to bring the podcast to them.

Toby (05:15):
Yep, absolutely. Well, we, as of every, I still think we’re planning on doing a top 10, so we will be able to have our usual, “Hey, here’s the top 10.” We’ll go through all of our episodes. So for those listeners who’ve, have missed some of the stuff we talked about, that’d be a good episode to jump in and listen to.

Adam (05:35):
That’d be an awesome one. And I also have to say, as somebody who came in halfway through the season, congratulations to you guys on winning the first Crushing. I thought that was super cool to see. And yeah, it was well deserved.

Toby (05:51):
Thank you, Adam.

Cheyenne (05:52):
That was furn for us, because that was a surprise to all of us actually at CBC. We did not know that we had been entered. Our wonderful editor, Haley, had entered us as a surprise, and then told us at CBC. And we got to go to the award ceremony and it was very fun.

Heather (06:06):
Yeah, she basically just booked off some time in our calendars and told us we had to go. So it was pretty fun.

Cheyenne (06:12):
And we didn’t know what it was until literally like 15 minutes before.

Adam (06:15):
That’s awesome. And that’s-

Toby (06:17):
Yeah, it was good.

Adam (06:18):
… We need to thank the fifth member of our team, too.

Cheyenne (06:21):

Adam (06:22):
Without the wonderful Hailey, this, the wheels would just fall off more.

Heather (06:27):

Toby (06:29):
Yes. Even with her own board, when she allows us to do these on our own, the wheels fall off.

Heather (06:34):
It falls off. And Hailey actually did make an appearance on the podcast this year.

Toby (06:38):
Yeah, she did.

Heather (06:39):
From live at CBC.

Cheyenne (06:40):
Oh, that’s right.

Heather (06:41):
Yeah. We got a little Hailey and a little Jessie, and our amazing marketing team to come on and chat with all the behind the scenes stuff for CBC. So that was really cool. So thank you, Hailey for-

Toby (06:52):

Cheyenne (06:53):
Thank you, Hailey.

Heather (06:53):
… And we’re sorry and we’re consistently sorry, Hailey.

Toby (06:59):
Yeah. Well, excited about today’s episode. We’re talking with some folks on our team about the harvest recap and then some. So super excited to get it rolling. How about y’all?

Adam (07:11):

Heather (07:11):
Can’t wait.

Toby (07:11):
Let’s do it.

Cheyenne (07:14):
And before we jump into today’s episode, we wanted to take a quick moment to highlight this year’s Pink Boot Society hot blend. We are joined by Blanca Quintero of the Pink Boot Society. Blanca, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your role with the Pink Boot Society?

Blanca (07:30):
Hi. Yeah. So I’m currently sitting as the president of the board of directors, so overseeing the organization internationally, I suppose. And yeah, I basically am involved in a lot of the day-to-day running of the organization itself, including the Collaboration Brew Day.

Cheyenne (07:52):
Oh, that’s awesome. Can you let our listeners know how members and non-members can participate in the Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day?

Blanca (08:01):
Sure. So we’re currently doing our pre-sale for the Collaboration Brew Day Hop Blend that Yakima Chief Hops and Country Malt Group are selling, and that is a blend that’s selected every year. And by purchasing the blend, part of the proceeds go back to the organization and you can use that to brew a beer or a cider or what have you. But within that, you can also register for a Brew Day, and you can do that even if you’re a brewery, a cidery, or even a home brewer. And that’s just you saying that you would also like to brew it as well as donate back to the organization, in addition to what Country Malt Group and Yakima Chief Hop is donating.

Cheyenne (08:46):
Awesome. And so when people register, I know that they can get some resources. Where can they find that and where can they actually register?

Blanca (08:54):
If you go to the, there is a section for Collaboration Brew Day specifically, and that gives you access to register to do a Brew Day yourself. And separately, to purchase the hop blend, you would have to go to Country Malt Group or Yakima Chief Hops for the link for that. I’m not sure what that link is. That could be insert here.

Cheyenne (09:20):
We can drop that, insert here.

Blanca (09:21):

Cheyenne (09:22):
Yeah. Awesome. So we’ve talked a little bit about some scholarship stuff as well, but how does participation in the actual Brew Day, registering and donating, how does that facilitate education and value for the Pink Boots Society and its members?

Blanca (09:39):
A lot of members use it as an opportunity to gather their local members. We have chapters across the world, at this point, and it’s an opportunity to oversee a Brew Day, participate in it. A lot of our members maybe aren’t hands-on in the brewery itself, so it gives people an opportunity to oversee a Brew Day, maybe participate in building a recipe, and it just provides a good networking, as well as learning opportunity for the members themselves to see more of what goes on in the brew house, if that’s not part of it. Or, if they are a brewer, it gives them opportunity to lead a Brew Day with other folks and educate them on the process itself.

Cheyenne (10:23):
That’s amazing. Do you know what you’re going to be brewing with the hop blend? Can you let us in on anything?

Blanca (10:30):
Every year, my brewery has done, it’s like a hybrid between a West Coast and a hazy. So it’s something that Cellar Maker is known to do, but it’s somewhat of a hybrid between the two styles. So it’s still a little danky, but it’s still a little juicy, because it’s the cross between those two styles. And it usually tastes pretty good, because of the hop blend itself tends to be a lot more like Citrus Tropical Forward. It’s a great addition to that style of beer.

Cheyenne (11:04):
Yeah, the blend for this year, too, looks really, really cool. I’m really excited to get to brew with that as well. Thank you so much, Blanca, for coming on. The YCH Pink Boots Hot Blend is on presale now through December 15th, so make sure to contact your Country Malt Group sales rep if you’d like to learn more.

Toby (11:23):
All right, season finale. I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I’m pumped. I’m not pumped, it’s the seasoned finale. I’m just pumped, because we’ve made it through four years, I guess, without beating the hell out of each other. Pretty awesome.

Heather (11:37):
That’s true. We’re still getting along, decently anyways.

Toby (11:38):
Yeah. Yeah.

Adam (11:38):
[inaudible 00:11:44]-

Toby (11:44):
What’s that Adam?

Adam (11:45):
I said it was touch and go this year.

Toby (11:47):
Yeah, it’s like, bringing you along’s been a little bit of a challenge.

Adam (11:50):
It’s been [inaudible 00:11:51].

Toby (11:51):
It’s like the-

Heather (11:53):
I honestly, I thought the candy episode was going to tear us all apart.

Toby (11:56):
It’s just one of the Canadian smart.

Heather (12:01):
Hey, we’ve got on another one.

Adam (12:02):
It’s on here today, too. That’s-

Toby (12:05):
I know.

Heather (12:05):
I would think.

Toby (12:05):
Sounds right. Nah, I’m excited about today, and I’m secondly excited that we could actually get a time that works for every one of these folks to join us, because we’re all busy and we’re all taking care of our customers, so it’s really cool we get all at one place, at one time, not one place, but all in the same Zoom recording though.

Heather (12:28):
Yeah. Just like that.

Toby (12:29):
So just, yeah, we’ll get to it. We got a lot to talk about today, primarily around harvest and recapping the year. So let’s just start introducing our guests. And I’ll just go around the horn real quick. And I’m going to ask what territories or what segment of North America you cover, how about a favorite beer or spirit style. And then important question is, after a lengthy evening of drinking, what’s your favorite go-to food in the morning? Could be a restaurant or could be just general type of food. Start with Matt. We’ve had Matt on before. Matt Chalmers. Hey, buddy.

Matt (13:11):
Hey, how’s it going? Thanks for having me on again. So, in terms of CMG and industry experience, I’ve been with CMG for, I think, it’s about four and a half years now, representing our brands and working with breweries in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland, and that’s really just the duration of my professional career in the industry. I wasn’t in the industry at all before, but I have been an avid home brewer for, gosh, got to be over 10 years now, and it’s easily the best, by far, the best career move I’ve ever made.

Love the customers, love the coworkers. It’s been a great ride. In terms of picking a favorite beer style, it’s difficult, I guess, because I enjoy a lot of different things. But if I had to pick one, I guess probably be traditional barrel-aged style sours. But I do enjoy a good pilsner or helles or Octoberfest. Had a couple of good barley wines on the weekend. Spirits, I guess bourbon generally does the trick. Nothing too fancy. Bulleit will do just fine. Let’s see, after a few Bulleits in the evening, I mean, I’m in Montreal, man, poutine in the morning is the only way to go about it.

Toby (14:25):
I like it. I like how it’s, “Eh, it’ll do just fine.” Anybody that’s partaking and [inaudible 00:14:31], “That’ll do just fine.” All right, Tony Little. Hey, Tony.

Tony (14:35):
Oh, hey there, Toby. Thanks for the intro. Yeah, it’s Tony Little here. I guess, first-time caller host. It’s great to be here. I have a bit of a yarn with everybody and cover a few things off. In short, I’m the territory manager, based in here, in the wonderful Denver, Colorado. Look after seven states, so keeps me pretty busy. And really just a Rocky Mountain region is probably the easiest way to describe it.

Terms of the old favorite beers, like Matt was saying, can’t go past the odd Pilsen or Helles, but also a big fan of your traditional pale ale. Really, it’s just the craft beer for me, really solid pale ale. Love that. Also, a fan of the old bourbon and cokes, so can’t really go wrong with any of those mainstays in there. And also partial, if got a bit of a hangover, to the odd morning screwdriver, I must admit, if the time is right. And that’s pretty much me.

Toby (15:47):
Tony’s drinking his breakfast. I like it. No, I thought you were going to say steak and potatoes, Tony.

Tony (15:55):
Yeah, well, I was going to throw that in, but it seemed a little bit heavy for the morning.

Heather (15:59):
And no vegetables, right?

Tony (16:03):

Heather (16:03):
Absolutely no vegetables.

Tony (16:04):
Just fries and onion soap. That’s great.

Toby (16:06):
There’s no need for vegetables. All right, thanks Tony. Tim Burke. Hey, Tim.

Tim (16:12):
Hey, Toby. It’s great to be back on the BrewDeck again. Been quite a year so far. My name’s Tim Burke. I am based in Chicago, Illinois. Sales manager for Country Malt Group, covering Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. As far as favorite beer style, it’s probably going to be pilsner or Helles. However, this time of year, I do gravitate to some of the darker beers. So a really good porter, like a Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald is right up my alley. Definitely enjoying that, along with the barrel-aged sours. Let’s see, bourbon is probably number one spirit. Definitely like Weller and Eagle Rare. Pretty much anything coming out of that distillery is topnotch. Woodford double oak is also very good. And chilaquiles or huevos rancheros is probably my go-to after an evening. And if it has to be liquid, it’ll be a Bloody Mary for sure.

Toby (17:28):
I like it, Tim. I like it. Being down here in Texas, the chilaquiles are the bomb.

Tim (17:33):
Oh, yeah.

Toby (17:33):
Yeah, and I need to invite you back out to my house again and that way you can bring me a Weller as a gift.

Tim (17:41):

Toby (17:41):
That bottle you brought me didn’t last but about a week. It was great.

Tim (17:44):
More than happy to, Toby. Love to anytime.

Toby (17:48):
Sweet. All right, Jon Mendrick. Hey, Jon.

Jon (17:51):
Hey, good morning, everyone. Good morning, Toby. Really good to be back on the podcast. It’s been a while, couple of years. And thanks for the invite, really appreciate it. I am a CMG territory manager up here in Seattle, based out of Seattle area. And been with the company for seven years now, believe it or not. And I’ve covered the good part of the northwest in that time, Washington, Idaho, Montana, skipped over Oregon and currently covering Washington and NorCal, which is a good majority of the state, all the way down to about North LA. So no small territory, so it keeps me busy.

Just love my customers, love my company, and do all I can to make the beer world a better place to be. Man, breakfast beverages, I got to support the shout-out to my northwest distilleries Westland Woodinville whiskey. And I am also, I can’t remember who just said it, but I do have a bottle of open, Eagle Rare rare sitting on my counter that’s just begging me every night to come say hello. Yeah, other than that, if I want to go fluffy, I’ll go for a nice vodka orange or vodka cran or a mimosa. I’m a sucker for a good iced cold mimosa as well. That’s me.

Toby (19:15):
Nice. What’s your go-to food on Saturday morning?

Jon (19:19):
I’m an oatmeal guy, man. Oatmeal and some blueberries and a cup of coffee. That’s me.

Toby (19:25):
God, Jon, I thought you’d… “Eh, just have a nice spinach salad after a long evening of drinking with a bunch of Italian dressing.”

Heather (19:31):
I mean, it probably makes you feel better than a poutine.

Jon (19:36):
I sleep on a pillow of arugula.

Toby (19:40):
I don’t doubt it.

Adam (19:41):
The saddest thing that’s been said on this podcast.

Toby (19:50):
Oh, geez. Yeah. Yeah, looking at the four of y’all, I think, I can’t do the math real well, that’s about 30 years of combined experience here at CMG under this umbrella. So I appreciate everybody’s willingness to jump on and the hard work you’re doing. And hopefully, y’all got some listeners out there that aren’t chunking the podcast in the water. So thank you.

Big day today. We wanted to have a show, obviously, to send everybody off into 2024, but really take a look at… Because it is just at the end of harvest season, a lot going on as far as moving new barley in. So we wanted to spend quite a bit of time having the four of y’all on and just talk about what the 2023 harvest looks like. So appreciate y’all’s expertise in jumping on and helping out to us and the listeners.

Let’s… So for listeners out there, obviously, you know or you don’t know, but we’re a North American-based company.

Tim (20:48):

Toby (20:49):
So primarily, we’ve been working out of, really, two segments, right? We got our Canadian malt houses and then our US-based malt houses, but we pull barley in from quite a few different places. But we’re going to break this into two different segments when we’re talking about harvest. We’re going to talk about what’s been going on or what’s happened up in the Canadian side, and then we’ll do the same down here in US. Let’s just start with Matt Chalmers and Heather, how you doing? Talk a little bit about what happened or what’s been going on up in Canada.

Matt (21:26):
Hey, thanks Toby. I can get’er started there. And we can first chat about the quality, the overall general quality, anyway, of the Canadian harvest. It can be pretty much summed up as, call it subpar or variable, meaning, in terms of plumps and proteins and whatnot. There was a lot of, call it, variation between proteins and plumps across Canada. It’d be ideal to check the COAs to get the most out of the malt. I mean, regardless, that should be done regardless of the crop year, and we’ll get into COAs in a little bit.

In terms of the Canadian harvest, roughly eight and a half million metric tons were harvested across Canada in 2023. It’s about on point with the 10-year average, just over eight million, quite a bit lower than what came off the fields in 2022, at 9.9 million metric tons. Now, as far as what was said earlier, what I said earlier on the quality, subpar, it’s not all bad, because the plumps look pretty good. Greater than 90% of the barley that we’re sourcing is considered plump, which is slightly higher than the 2022 crop. I think 88%. And regardless, greater than 90% is probably a bit better than we anticipated as well.

Protein levels, so wide range of proteins across the prairies, anywhere from 12 to 12 and a half. There were a few good pockets in central Alberta to select from, of low protein. However, outside of central Alberta, the low protein stuff was challenging to find. In terms of the 2022 harvest, the quality’s probably similar, just a little lower yield. So there shouldn’t be too much noticeable difference from one crop here to the next. Shouldn’t really have to change your milling, your mill setting for the 2023 crop as compared to the 2022.

What do we got here, changeover? So in terms of where we’re going to be starting to blend in the 2023 crop, so changeover’s already started on the bulk side, probably about 25% inclusion, Montreal. I’m going to ask Heather and Adam to maybe chime in on Calgary or Thunder Bay, because I’m just not sure where we’re at on inclusion there.

Adam (24:03):
It’s started as well in Thunder Bay. So we’re starting to see some of that being brought in. I think a big part of it, too, is making sure that we do it in a way that doesn’t have a big effect. So we start to blend things in as we go, to make sure that the ’22 to the ’23 isn’t noticeable, as far as anything negative happening for the customers.

Heather (24:33):
Coming out of Calgary, it’s the same. We are seeing some partial inclusion of new crop, [inaudible 00:24:39] to the bulk. So again, like Adam said, we’re doing, we do this gradually to not see a huge change in new product.

Matt (24:50):
Okay. I was just going to summarize, you can pretty much expect roughly the same quality on the 2023 crop as we saw in the 2022. Pricing is expected to come off slightly as the barley demand in Canada’s very low at the moment compared to previous years. Anyway, I’m sure we’ll get into pricing shortly.

Toby (25:12):
Yeah, that’s a great overview. Appreciate y’all very much. And it’s interesting that, yeah, I haven’t heard a lot of my customers down here in the south that are using malted barley out of Canada, that they’ve noticed anything as far as inclusion. And that’s a good sign, right?

Heather (25:30):

Toby (25:31):
We want to make sure on our end that the malt that we’re sending to the end users is seamless, right? So if we’re dealing with a completely different crop, with different varieties and different types of things we’re dealing with, it’s a testament to, I think, our crew and our maltsters that they’re doing what they got to do, and working within their specifications and their equipment, to make sure the end user doesn’t notice anything. So it’s good to hear.

Adam (26:02):
So I have one more question here then, going back on that either Chalmers or Heather, when we’re dealing with a variable crop, like we’re dealing with this year, how do we get that consistency from one area to the next and into the blend?

Matt (26:23):
We’re going to try to obviously purchase as much quality stuff as we can possibly find. I mean, it’s, it is a natural product. Look, at the end of the day, if there’s no low protein to be found, we might have to resort, as we have done in the past, to bringing stuff in from overseas, but that’s a last resort.

Heather (26:45):
Our maltsters are awesome, incredibly, incredibly talented individuals and working on their blends. They’re very, very good at what they do.

Toby (26:53):
Yeah, I’ll lean on Tim Burke here in a bit to talk a little bit more about specifically up in Canada, our elevator system, which I think gives us a pretty massive benefit over some of the others, to make sure that we have that consistency in product. Well, cool. I appreciate it. That’s helpful stuff. Great Western, talk about US barley.

Jon (27:15):
Yeah. Hey, this is Mendrick, and we are very, very pleased with the crop this year in the US. We had a wonderful year. We started off the year with plenty of snow pack, sub soil moistures were more than adequate going into the growing season. And compared to the past couple of years, we actually, we had a stellar crop this year. Idaho was absolutely beautiful, low proteins, good extracts, good yields. There wasn’t too much in the US to thumb your nose at. Montana looked great, eastern Washington, which is non-irrigated, dry farming, pulled off a great, amazing crop. Oregon, parts, small parts Oregon, Northern Cal, also the same boat. So yeah, we really had a stellar 2023 growing year this year. I’m happy to report that.

Toby (28:05):
Yeah. One of the things that I noticed when we were invited to go out to Stoddard Farms when, out in Grace, Idaho, when Great Western Malting was having their malting course, and one of the things they mentioned was the growing season got started pretty late, Jon, as you mentioned. The snow pack, it didn’t melt sooner, or earlier in the year than it had in the past. So they couldn’t get their barley seeds in the ground until later.

And then obviously, when you’re putting barley seeds in late, it accelerates the plant into growth and production pretty quickly, right? So when you harvest it, they had to harvest it in that window that they typically do. And albeit, it was one of the best crops they’ve seen in quite a long time, they just didn’t get the type of yield that they were expecting, because of that shortened growth window, if you will, because everything got started late.

Jon (29:08):
True, true. There were some areas where definitely they had a little bit too moisture going into the spring and they couldn’t get the tractors in the fields and the seeds in the ground. There’s cases of that in instances, in some areas. But I’d say the overall overarching picture was a really good 2023.

Toby (29:28):

Jon (29:28):
Great year.

Toby (29:30):
Jon, or whoever else does quite a bit of work down in the US here. With Great Western Malting having two plants, one in Vancouver, Washington and one in Pocatello, Idaho, it seems like the locales are situated just perfectly for what they do.

Tim (29:50):
Oh, yeah. Well, I was just going to say that they are positioned well. If you’re looking at overall US barley production, it’s coming out of Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. That’s making up almost 80, 82% of the total production, and Idaho added 33% of that. So we’re definitely capturing a lot of that for Great Western. I mean, this year’s crop, the production was up 7.5% over last year. Of course, we measure everything in bushels and everybody else does metric tons. So we’re at about 185 million bushels and I think it’s 46 bushels per metric ton. So we’re right around four million metric ton. In the US, is usually around three to 3.5, so definitely up. So that was good to see that, as well as yield was up over last year as well by a couple percent. Yeah, things look good, the quality looks good.

I mean, every year, you’re going to have those challenges with weather, whether it’s early rains making it difficult to get into the fields, late rains, rains at harvest for pre-germ or pre-sprout. But our team does a great job of mitigating a lot of that, just from all the years of experience. But yeah, I would definitely echo what Jon was saying. Quality’s going to be good this year. Yield was good, so it’d be nice to have a couple years like this in a row. That’s something that we really haven’t had. We haven’t had good ending stocks or carryover to carry us through. Hopefully, we’ll see a couple more years of this in a row.

Jon (31:37):
Yeah, if we can get a couple more years of this, Tim, in a row, we’re going to be back in good shape, the industry as a whole. I agree.

Toby (31:44):
Yeah, it’s good news. And then definitely trending in a positive direction compared to what we’ve had a few years back. It’s great to hear, great to hear. Yeah, and as I mentioned earlier, Country Malt Group, which this group, at least the folks on this call are primarily associated with, but we’re part of a larger family of brands. And as I mentioned, Great Western Malting and Canada Malting, just being two of those brands in North America, with five malt houses spread out strategically in North America to help service our customers, and really allow us to go and source the best barley and malting conditions that we can. So it’s pretty positive.

Another thing I mentioned, just briefly, earlier is, within the last couple weeks, and it’s been in the works for six, seven, eight months now, but we just recently joined the team over at Malteries Soufflet, so we can officially be called the largest malting company in the world. So what that does for us as a company, we go from five malt houses in North America to 41 malt plants over five continents, 2,300 or more team members, and then annual production of combined forces here is just shy of four million metric tons annually.

So I think that’s, for the listeners and for us, it’s a very positive thing. Because, you mentioned how do we mitigate poor harvest years or poor crop years, or challenges within the malting arena. Now, we have a great team that we’re spread out globally and we can utilize our resources as a new organization to help mitigate and provide consistency for our customer base. So pretty excited about that. I’m fairly certain the rest of y’all feel the same way.

Heather (33:48):

Toby (33:49):
Yeah. So Tim, I wanted to ask you again, I mentioned the elevator system, but generally, it’s a question’s like, we talk about quality, insurance of quality, and a lot of that falls into the maltsters’ hands, because as mentioned before, crop is just a crap shoot.

Tim (34:08):
Totally. Yeah. This is something that Canada Malting has looked at for a long time and years ago, they decided to invest in these smaller countryside grain elevators. A lot of these were going out of fashion. Everybody’s looking at utilizing the new, fast throughput systems, but Canada Malting invested in, and we have nine of these across four provinces. And the one thing that’s beautiful about these elevators is they’re able to just collect barley from around the area and bring it in. And since they’re smaller bins inside these elevators, they’re able to segregate by protein, by variety, by plump.

If there’s pre-germ stuff, they’re able to get that segregated and ready to go. So when it comes time for the maltster, the malt house can call up and tell them exactly what they’re looking for. They can pull those needs and get it over for a more consistent quality end result, even with challenge crop year. Plus, all of the experience that our team has with working with challenge crop years over all these years, they really know how to handle it.

For each of these elevators, the other thing is the full lab onsite. So they’re able to look at everything as they’re bringing them in. They’re not going to bring in inferior barley, they’re not just going to have cars rolling in and just taking samples and hoping for the best. We have longstanding relationships with the farmers in the area, really take care of these farmers, whether they have a good or bad crop, really there to support each other.

So Canada Malting’s done a lot to invest in their system and it’s paid off. In the past couple years, where we’ve had some struggles, they’ve done a great job of mitigating those and providing consistent spec-on-spec malt for our customers. Kudos to that. I think it was a great investment years ago and it continues to be.

Toby (36:28):
Yeah, a hundred percent agree. Yeah, and then the same goes for the US, right? I mean, we have the ability to pull barley from a lot of different locations. And look at Pocatello, that malt house fits-

Tim (36:40):

Toby (36:40):
… right in the prime area of some of the best barley-growing region around. Yeah, and then the Vancouver plant allows us a lot of flexibility to produce just some stellar specialty stuff, just because of yeah, the conditions, atmospherically, and the weather surrounding that plant there. Yeah, for the customers out there and for us to be able to produce consistency with those five plants and our access to barley is bar none. It’s really great.

So want to talk a little bit about barley, in general, and how that stacks up to other crops that honestly, growers have the ability to plant whatever they want, right? How does barley stack up to some of the other products and how is it affected by what’s going on in the other segments of the crop market? And Jon, you want to take that?

Jon (37:43):
Yeah. Sure, Toby. The question is how is barley a global commodity? You wouldn’t think it would be a global commodity just grown outside of Pocatello or Klamath Falls, or you think that would apply to the local economy there. But it’s very much a global economy, commodity, because you really have to want to grow malting barley. And most everyone that is growing malting barley, in today’s world, their families have been doing it for generations, right? Not a lot of people are waking up wanting to grow malting barley, because there’s a lot of specs that you have to meet to be able to sell it as malting barley. Otherwise, it’s considered feed barley.

Really easy to grow feed barley, because you don’t have all those specs to meet. So there’s got to be incentive to want to grow malting barley. Because, if China is in a trade spot with Australia, where are they going to turn for that feed barley to feed their cattle and their livestock? They turn to Canada and they pay a premium for it. And, so now, the Canadian farmer and the US farmer understands that they can put down wheat or they can put down corn, even feed barley, and fetch a very high price for it, and it’s a worthwhile investment for them to do so. You really have to incentivize these guys, pay them well, pay them what the crop is worth, to continue to malt barley.

And the saying goes that all the barley produced in North America is 1% of the entire corn production in the continent of North America. So it’s a very, very small niche crop. So any world hiccups, you get a global war, where Ukraine is the breadbasket of the world and they’re not shipping barley out of the Black Sea region. Again, where’s that going to come from? It’s got to come from somewhere. So it raises the price of everything. Your little farmer out there in the middle of nowhere, growing barley, while he appears to be just a farmer in the middle of nowhere growing barley, he’s very much affected and tied into the global production of agriculture.

Heather (40:08):
Jon, can you touch a little bit on the difference between seed barley and malting barley?

Jon (40:13):
Yeah, you have to… Malting barley, it’s got to meet certain specs, right? You got to have proteins that aren’t through the roof. You got to have extracts that are in line with what brewers and distillers are expecting. You’ve got to have plumps meeting certain specs. You can’t have small plumps, you can’t have extra large plumps. There’s a very wide range of specifications that a maltster, such as Great Western or Canada Malting, require of the grower to meet. And if they don’t meet those specs, then we turn it away and it goes to feed. So a lot of pressure to perform, if you definitely are going to be in the market to grow malting barley. Feed barley’s a whole other game. It’s easy. You grow it, it grows, you harvest it, and you sell it up. But pennies on the dollar compared to what a farmer’s going to get from malting barley.

Heather (41:09):
Thank you.

Toby (41:11):
Jon, so two harvests, right? Winter barley varietals have been here for some time, here in the US, but tell us a little bit about the benefit of having two harvests.

Jon (41:23):
Yeah, for sure. Winter barleys are fairly new to the game. They’ve been grown for a long time, as you say, but not in the volumes we’re seeing today.

Toby (41:36):

Jon (41:36):
Part of the reason for that is because, last couple of years especially, lessons have been learned that you’ve got one. If you plant one crop, you plant a spring crop and that does not succeed well, that’s your one shot and you’re out of luck until next year, right? So with spring barley, one, you’re going to get an additional harvest, adds some insurance to your spring crop if that doesn’t go so well. The other benefits with a winter barley varietal is you get higher yields, typically.

It acts as a cover crop throughout the winter, pressure soil, and soil moisture, and just soil health, in general. So there’s a lot of benefits these days to growing winter barley. It is seen as one of the saviors. Everyone is asking, “What are the maltsters and farmers doing to protect barley, future barley, for beer?” And winter barley, right now, is the number one answer. If you ask probably any maltster anywhere, they’re all heavily now invested in the winter barley varietals as the future barley for beer.

Toby (42:47):
Market stuff. I want to bounce back over to COAs. Matt, you had mentioned the importance of looking at COAs, whether it’s new crop inclusion or just as people are inbounding their, either their bulk malt or even in the bag. What are some important things to look for on a COA? I mean, there’s a lot of details on there, you can get lost in it. But for most of our listeners, what do you think some of those important things are to look for in a COA?

Matt (43:18):
Yeah, the COA could probably be its own podcast, on its own. I think we have time to cover everything, but I picked three of them just for how they affect the finished beer. So I’m looking at assortment, which is your sizing. We’re looking at color and, of course, we’re looking at extract. Again, just because how everything, how those three elements impact the actual finished beer. So if we start, if we look at the assortment or the sizing, it’s related to the size of the kernel.

So our maltsters, they try to ensure that the malts in the lots, the kernel sizes are 6/64ths of an inch, or for the Canadian crew 2.4 millimeters or greater. So those are considered the plumps, and they want those plumps to be, what they’ll shoot for is greater than 90%. So the plumps number are greater than 90%. It’s really used to determine how to adjust your mill or set your mill. The number’s a little bit lower, probably going to want a tighter mill setting.

Because most of the time, loss is an extract. It’s really related to the mill setting. You want to find the sweet spot between too coarse or too fine. Because, if it’s too coarse, some of your kernels, they’re going to fall right through the mill and not get milled. And obviously, that’ll cause a loss in efficiencies. Too fine, you can run into lautering issues, which can also drop your efficiencies. You really want to find the sweet spot. So that’s what the assortment number’s going to help the brewer find.

The other, another one that we’ll touch on is colors. 95% of color contribution to, we’ll call it normal beer, because there’s a lot of fruit beers out there that get colored. So 95% of the color contribution comes from the malt. The rest is happening during the boiling process. Any color that’s added, either concentrated or whatnot, concentrated sugars color can get added that way. Malt color is typically generated during the kilning process.

So the COAs, a typical COA, anyway, will show the malt color in degrees lovibond, and that’s essentially an identical number to the SRM or the standard research method. Usually, lovibond is used to identify the color of malt, whereas the SRM is really more used in terms of wort color. But essentially, the number’s the same. In terms of how the color’s controlled, maltsters will generally be able to control the overall lot color and hit their spec with various kilning processes, and blending, of course.

So for brewers looking for color consistency, you really want to select malt that has pretty tight ranges and similar numbers consistently showing up on the COAs, or brewers could run into significant adjustments that are required to, in order to hit their desired beer color. Of course, you get that information from the COAs. And then extract’s the last piece. It’s certainly not the least, because this is really what brewers are paying for, least with their base malts anyway.

So craft brewers should be focusing on the fine, or they will be focusing on the fine grind dry and the coarse grind as-is. So fine dry, it’s done in a lab, and it’s actually going to determine the highest amount of solids that can be extracted from this particular lot. Having said that, there aren’t a lot of brewers that can actually achieve this level. So the coarse grind as-is will show the actual extract that someone can expect from a typical brewhouse. The as-is number also includes moisture, which explains the lower rating compared to the dry ratings. Does that make sense? Yeah, it makes sense.

For coarse as-is, the number range should be between 75 and 78, and for the fine dry, should be somewhere between 79 and 84. Ultimately, the higher number is the better, because that’s really what the brewers are paying for. You really want to look for something with a higher extract. But the bottom line, if to the brewers, for those of you looking for consistency over your brews, you really want to look at the COAs, because it’s like the instruction manual of what it is that you’re getting. So I highly recommend that you ask your maltster for a COA before using the product. And if your maltster can’t produce a COA for you, you could be in for a few surprises.

Heather (48:08):
We could pull, all COAs can be pulled on our website as long as we have the batch and the SKU for the product.

Toby (48:17):
Yeah, absolutely. That’s good point, Heather. Yeah, how many of y’all have traveled around with a set of sieves? Anybody?

Matt (48:27):
Not me.

Toby (48:29):
I used to have one I would take with me on visits. Yeah, for the brewers out there, they’re not that expensive. We could do another podcast on this with the COAs, Matt. But yes, sieves are, they’re not expensive. It’s something that brewers could use and do tests, if they wanted to do it, once a month, they could. They could do it once a week if they wanted to. Yeah, it’s certainly something to think about. Let’s talk a little bit about, and we’re right in the thick of it as far as our team, as we know this week, looking at forecasting.

But one of the things that I think is overlooked, in general, when it comes to our great customer base and just in general. We realize that our customers and brewers and distillers are out there, in this day and age are just, are brewing all kinds of stuff, just whatever the palates require. And we have a very creative industry, so there’s a lot going on, a lot of different things happening, as far as what they want to put on the market, what they want to have on tap, et cetera. But one thing we want to talk about, I like to talk about, is the importance of forecasting and ordering, right?

Albeit, we have a bunch of different warehouses, strategically throughout North America to service what people need when they need it, and then a great footprint of malting, malt houses, and sources for bulk malt in North America. It’s still difficult for us to make sure that we have what people want and when they want it, that way, yeah, it’s always available. Tony, you want to touch a little bit on the importance of forecasting and then, it’s like an ordering 101?

Tony (50:18):
Yeah, sure. Toby. This one’s pretty close to my heart, as I’m generally doing it every day with customers out in the trade. Ultimately, forecasting, it’s important so we can meet our customer’s needs. It’s really as simple as that. And it also enables our business to anticipate change to supply and demand, which ultimately helps reduce the chance of out-of-stocks. Because, as we know, nobody likes out-of-stocks, which could potentially cause disruptions to brew schedules or business.

So that really is the main thing in terms of forecasting, to ensure a really steady supply of product. In a perfect world, our warehouses would be a hundred percent capacity all the time, but in the real world, unfortunately, that’s not the way things work. So the more information we’re given, the more ammo we have, and the better we’re armed to be able to supply everyone what they need, more often than not. So in a nutshell, that’s definitely the importance of forecasting.

Toby (51:31):
Yeah, a hundred percent agree. And one of the other things that we can help with, too, is if for those that maybe aren’t equipped to be able to track forecasting, it sounds funny, but there’re customers out there that just don’t have the ability or the time to do it. Our team’s always available to look at historic trends, if you will, and historic purchasing clips. So we can help get that information over to the customer, to take a look at what their forecast is looking like. Any way we can assist is definitely the, we’re here to do it.

Tony (52:07):
Yeah. No, exactly. And it’s especially important, too, if there’s going to be a change into people’s recipes or supply streams. New customers coming on board, really important. We give that information. Anytime for forecasting is a good time, I guess, as Toby mentioned. Please ring, holler at us, ping us an email with anything. You just want to make sure your bases are covered with, and we’d be happy to help and get that in our systems to give us a better view of what’s going on with your individual business, plus the market as well. And Toby, I’d offer to cover a little bit on, just ordering in a timely fashion there as well.

Toby (52:56):
Ah, be perfect. Thanks, Tony.

Tony (52:59):
Yeah. So one of the most important things about ordering in timely fashion is that it can really help reduce any delays or problems, potential out-of-stocks. It really just gives us that extra bit of time to be able to take a look at what’s coming in and then potentially prepare if we need to make any alternate arrangements, to ensure what we have. One thing I’d also highly suggest to people to get on their calendars is public holidays.

We all know that freighting can be really strained around public holidays, both before and after. So that would be a little bit of a pro tip for me, get that on the calendars and try to take that problem out of the picture before it potentially arises. And another tip I’d like to share is, with enough notice, you can also request specific delivery days. Something to bear in mind as well, if you’ve got enough time up your sleeve to get those orders in and get them scheduled early.

Toby (54:13):
Thanks, Tony. That’s good stuff. Mendrick, I got in my notes here to talk a little bit more about the farming. You mentioned quite a bit of it and had a good little recap earlier, but do we need to talk a little bit more about, or you think we should talk a little bit more about some of the challenges of growing malting barley?

Jon (54:32):
Yeah. No, Toby, I think really the biggest challenge is that it’s a very particular crop, with particular needs for the maltsters. It’s not typically something that you just pick up one day and say, “You know what? I’m done with spuds. I’m going barley.” Typically, you learn to grow barley from your father, who learned from his grandfather, who learned from his father, and it’s a generational thing. And in order to keep these guys putting seeds in the ground, you really, the challenge for us is to keep barley in the ground. Because, for them, they have a field, they’re very, very tempted to put wheat down or corn or canola, which is a guaranteed… almost, except for a weather event, acts of God, things like that.

All those crops, besides barley, are so much more risk-free. Nothing’s risk-free, but the amount of risk with all those other crops over malting barley is so much less. And so, you have to incentivize these guys. You have to treat them well, you have to pay what market is demanding. Market is demanding a high price right now, but there’s a lot of pressure on these guys to continually put barley seeds in the ground.

It’s up to us as maltsters to really have those relationships and encourage them to continue putting barley in the ground. And by doing that, we give them and their families, and their future families, security, just like we have security with those relationships. That’s the challenge, really, to keep farmers putting barley in the ground ground for malting and not putting in corn, canola, spuds, anything that’s more of a sure bet than malting barley.

Toby (56:34):
Yeah. And I think it’s a good time to give kudos out to our barley team. We have a team of individuals that-

Jon (56:42):

Toby (56:43):
… they’re solely out working with the farmers, working with the growers, making suggestions on varietals, checking out the crops. Yeah, I got to give it to them. Because they do a fantastic job and obviously keep us in the right position for us to go out there and make sure our customers can have some malting barley.

Jon (57:02):
Absolutely. Hundred percent goes out to those guys. I mean, they work their tails off. They probably put a hundred thousand miles on their car every couple months, I don’t know. Constantly on the road, constantly out on the farm, making sure everything’s okay, making sure the crop looks good, and making sure all those relationships are intact. So yeah, absolutely. Kudos to our barley procurement team. They do a stellar job.

Toby (57:27):

Adam (57:27):
I think it’s really impressive that we have a team of men and women that go from the farm, get what we need, get it to this point where we have these challenges, and we have these people who are able to overcome these challenges, and get it to the malting process. And our maltsters are second to none in this industry. So I think from farm to the time that it gets to the brew house, we have groups of people that are just absolutely over-the-top good at what they do.

Toby (58:00):
Hundred percent. I got you. Yep. Agree. Yeah, we’re getting close to time here, but I wanted to just chat a little bit about, we’re talking 2023, we’re at the end of the year. Not everything has been smell the roses, right? I think all of us here are, the-glass-is-half-full folks. We’ve got some really positive outlook on what 2024 looks like. But just want to go around the table here and talk about some of the challenges we have had this year and expectations for 2024. So anybody with some thoughts on 2023, in general?

Adam (58:42):
I think that one of the things that we have seen over the last couple of years is, we’ve seen, in terms of pricing, based on all of these challenges that we’ve had in the fields, over the last couple of years, we have seen a lot of increased pricing. And for the first time, in quite some time, we had some major price drops, especially with our, especially products from overseas. So as far as a feel-good story to end 2023, the pricing has been probably one of the top ones that I can think of.

Toby (59:23):
Yeah, that’s a great point, Adam.

Tim (59:23):

Jon (59:23):
Oh, yeah. I mean-

Tim (59:26):
… Yeah, definitely agree with Adam on that. Those prices were really high on those import malts and they have dropped off and some domestics as well. I think we’re just seeing a little bit of a ripple effect on the energy not being as high as it was last year, but I would also say that this crop this year is something to be positive about rolling in next year as well.

Heather (59:55):
Yeah, having two decent crops in a row is definitely something to be excited about.

Jon (01:00:03):
Absolutely. Let’s go for a hat trick and get another one in there. We can get another one under our belt for 2024, everyone is going to feel a little bit better about everything. Pricing should be stable to down. It’s overall better picture for the barley market. So let’s hope, let’s hope. I know where I’m at, it’s raining like crazy.

Heather (01:00:28):
Here, too.

Jon (01:00:29):
Hopefully, we can go into the spring with a good snow pack. The one thing we do have to watch here, challenge wise, here in the Northwest, is they’re calling for an El Nino year, a big El Nino year. And what that means is a little bit of a drier, not as much snow pack, not as much rain here in the Northwest. So fingers crossed, that’s not as severe as they’re calling for, but we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on it.

Toby (01:00:57):
(Jon) Yeah, let’s hope interest rates in general continue to soften a bit, right? I think that’s been one of the challenges that I’ve heard from the customer bases is that yeah, rent rates have been going up. Hopefully we see those start to simmer down. I think just the creativity and the general industry that we’re involved in every day, they’re tough people and they passionate about what they do. They’re going to find a way to survive.

I think what we’re seeing is a lot of people really honing in and focusing on a couple of core styles as opposed to throwing out 15, 20 different things to see if they stick, which we’ve seen in the past. People are becoming really, really, really good at just a handful of products. And I see that when I’m out in market and get the ability to taste or the chance to taste some of these beers. People are really honing in on stuff that they put all their marbles into.

Yeah, I think, in general, and I’ve seen the data, I can’t attest to it and call it out right now, but there’s still a bunch of breweries in planning, more so than there have been in the past. There’s still people out there wanting to have that tap room experience, which I think is another big one. People still want to have that experience going, sitting at a neighborhood tap room and having a fresh pint. Yeah, I’m excited about 2024. I don’t know about y’all.

Heather (01:02:42):
Well, I just want to say that I’m actually excited about the beer next year. I’m looking forward to the beer in 2024.

Toby (01:02:51):
Yes. Yeah, absolutely. All right, well cool. Hey, I appreciate everybody’s time. Any final last words? We’ve got a good crew here.

Adam (01:03:00):
It’s a great crew here actually, and it’s super fun to be able to do this on a regular basis and be able to share some of this information on this podcast. And Tim, Jon, Chalmers, Tony, thanks so much, guys. The work you guys do every day and the fact that you can come on here and take some time to chat with us is absolutely phenomenal.

Matt (01:03:25):
Hey, thanks for having us, man.

Tim (01:03:26):
Yeah, always happy to be on the Brew Deck with you guys.

Tony (01:03:29):
Yeah, absolutely. Thank yeah so much, guys.

Toby (01:03:32):
Absolutely. Anytime, anytime is much pleasure. Good jobs.

Heather (01:03:37):
And now, we are going to jump into my favorite new segment that we brought on this year. Ask Abby, where we get to ask Abby, our product manager. Fun and exciting questions. So welcome, Abby.

Abi (01:03:51):
Thank you very much. I always love being on the podcast.

Heather (01:03:55):
Oh, we have had a pretty great year here for rolling out some new and exciting products. And obviously, you came on this year to help us work with rolling out these new and exciting products. So, can you tell us a little bit about what we, recap what was launched this year?

Abi (01:04:12):
Yeah, definitely. I don’t think I’ll go through them all, because we have a pretty extensive list, but I’ll tell you about a few of my favorites. We brought on Pinnacle brewer’s yeast by AB Biotek, and I think that you know they’re pretty prominent in the distilling and wine industries. But this year we got to introduce three new yeasts by them, specifically for the brewing industry. We have a pilsner, an American ale, and an English ale. They’re always really great quality, create those really well-balanced beers.

And another one that we brought on, we brought on a few more yeasts from Lallemand’s. They brought on their NovaLager yeast, which is one of your more general lager yeasts. It has a really low diacetyl and it also utilizes this really great technology from UC Davis that inhibits the production of H2S, which is an off flavor. So it’s just really nice to work with, really clean and quick. Another one that we brought on from Lallemand is one of my favorites. It’s called LalBrew LoNa, and it’s for low and no alcohol. It’s a pretty cool one to work with. Can be difficult to work with at times, but once you get it down, it’s really awesome.

I like it, because it’s the first to use the maltrose-negative Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain. So it performs like an ale yeast, but it doesn’t consume that maltose, and it results in a super low attenuation. So that’s pretty fun. Other ones, we’ve got Thomas Fawcett brought on a couple really cool malts, crystal oat malt and the toasted oat malt. And they did this with a process that we don’t see very often. So those add some really cool body and mouth feel to your beers, but also these really nice toasty toffee flavors, which are really cool. And then Canada Malting actually introduced a new facility for their premier line of flaked products. And we’ve got flake oats, we’ve got flake wheat, and flake rye. Those are really great to work with as well. Thank you.

Adam (01:06:28):
That’s sounds… an awesome year all around. You’ve been busy, which is great. And speaking of being busy, what can we look forward to in 2024? Any teasers for us?

Abi (01:06:38):
Yeah, definitely. We’ve got a lot of really cool stuff coming up. As the project manager, I’m always looking for new and innovative products as well as those ones that are really good quality for your hard-earned dollar. So you’re going to see, you may have heard us say the tagline, “Your one-stop shop for your everyday needs.” So we’re going to have a lot of things that our sales team is looking out for. We might have some gaps in our portfolio that we’re trying to fill, but we also have some really, really neat, innovative things coming up, too, in every ingredient area.

So we’ve got new flavors or yeasts, even chemicals and cleaning solutions, on top of our malts and hops. Lots of really big things to come. One really exciting thing that I can talk about is Castle Malting. We’re going to be bringing them on in March of 2024. And I made sure that we have a very extensive portfolio with them, not only their base malts, but some really cool specialty malts as well. And another thing I’m really focusing on is that beyond beer segment. So that would be your spirits and your ready-to-drink beverages, seltzers, ciders, and especially those low and no-alcohol beverages. So, as far as that goes, that’s really all I can say, but pretty exciting stuff to come.

Heather (01:08:03):
Some good teasers. Well, thank you so much, Abi. We love doing the Ask Abby segment, so I’m very excited to roll this into season five, and we will see everybody next year.

Abi (01:08:14):
Sounds great. Thank you.

Toby (01:08:16):
Well, another big thanks out to our team, Matt, Tony, Tim, and Jon for joining us today. Obviously, we got some really knowledgeable folks, and for those listeners out there, if you ever have any questions, you can always reach out to one of these guys or any of our awesome sales reps, and they’d be happy to help out with advice. And just to reiterate, we’re always here to support you.

Adam (01:08:37):
Yeah, and thank you for a great fourth season. Thanks to all of our guests. We had some really great episodes this year. And thank you to the listeners for supporting us and helping us win Best Beer Podcast at the Craft Beer Marketing Awards earlier this year. We couldn’t have crushed it without you.

Heather (01:08:54):
There it is.

Cheyenne (01:08:54):
Adam with the dad joke.

Toby (01:08:55):
It’s like crickets after that.

Heather (01:08:55):
He’s got to get one last one in-

Cheyenne (01:09:00):
Yes, he does-

Heather (01:09:01):
… for the year.

Cheyenne (01:09:03):
… season finale. Well, we will be back in mid-January for season five. So make sure you subscribe and follow the podcast so you don’t miss an episode.

Heather (01:09:11):
And from all of us here at the Brew Deck podcast and the Country Malt Team, happy holidays to everybody. Thanks, everyone.

Toby (01:09:18):
Adam, we still love you pal. It’s okay. Bye, everybody.