Get to Know a BA Committee: Technical

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This post is the fourth in a series of posts called, “Get to Know a Brewers Association Committee.” Keep an eye out for more committee highlights like this in the future.

The Brewers Association (BA) Technical Committee‘s roster represents a cross section of BA members that are devoted to sharing their knowledge and experience to help everyone in the industry fine tune their operations and brew the highest quality beer possible. Collectively, the 20 members of the Technical Committee have over 500 years of brewing experience.

Meet the Technical Committee

The Technical Committee, along with its various subcommittees is the largest committee structure at the BA. Counting the Draught Quality, Engineering, Quality, Safety, Supply Chain and Sustainability Subcommittees, over 80 individuals contribute their time for the benefit of all brewers.

“Throughout my career, many wonderful members of our industry have freely given me freely their time, knowledge, and other resources. I serve the Brewers Association because I feel it is my duty to pay this kindness forward.”

Larry Horwitz, Soma Brewing

“Throughout my career, many wonderful members of our industry have freely given me freely their time, knowledge, and other resources. I serve the Brewers Association because I feel it is my duty to pay this kindness forward,” says Larry Horwitz of Soma Brewing. “As co-chair of the technical committee, it is my privilege to help guide the hard work of subcommittees who are developing resources, commissioning and conducting research, exploring ideas and completing projects that provide value to our membership. These are things that individual brewers might not be able to do for themselves but are vital to the health of their businesses and their communities, increase the quality of their beer, and keep their workers safe.”

A portion of the Technical Committee’s work address brewing operations. The Engineering Subcommittee provides best practices for creating and maintaining mechanical systems including brewing systems and building infrastructure. The Sustainability Subcommittee provides benchmarking tools and manuals that help brewers to reduce energy and water use, and bring more profit to the bottom line, while ensuring that there will be adequate resources available in the future to continue to brew great beer.

“I am proud to work on the Technical Committee which strives to continue to innovate the way we share knowledge as the craft brewing community.”

Jamie Floyd, Ninkasi Brewing Company

“There are centuries of science and technology that helped lead to the craft brewing industry,” says Jamie Floyd of Ninkasi Brewing Company. “Biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, and even sustainability have had some tremendous leaps through this technical work, with everything from Pasteur’s early work in biology, to the creation of stainless kegs as an example of the early sustainability efforts in the food-related industries. The BA Technical Committee works to bring this information to new eyes and minds over multiple formats to ensure there is a base to build on the enormous tome of knowledge the brewing sciences have created. I am proud to work on the Technical Committee which strives to continue to innovate the way we share knowledge as the craft brewing community.”

The Technical Committee’s work goes well beyond assisting brewers in operating effectively within the four walls of their brewery. The Quality Subcommittee helps BA members adhere to regulations promulgated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The Safety Subcommittee helps prepare brewers comply with Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) requirements and has even “trained” OSHA inspectors in brewery operations. The Draught Beer Quality Subcommittee works hard to make sure that brewers’ beer served at retail still has all the fresh flavors that the brewer intended.

The Supply Chain Subcommittee communicates with key industry partners, making sure that craft brewers have adequate supplies of the key ingredients necessary to brew their unique beers. With an eye to the future, the Technical Committee also oversees the Craft Beer Research and Service Grant program, funding research supporting public barley and hop variety development, affiliated national and state-level grower organizations, and development of hop or barley grower best practice guidance.

“At its heart, brewing is about community. We build communities, and communities build us. That’s our origin story. Serving on the Technical Committee and subcommittees feels much larger than anything any single person or any one company could do. It’s a sense of contributing to the foundation and support of the craft brewing community.”

James “Otto” Ottolini, Brew Hub

“At its heart, brewing is about community,” says James “Otto” Ottolini of Brew Hub. We build communities, and communities build us. That’s our origin story. Serving on the Technical Committee and subcommittees feels much larger than anything any single person or any one company could do. It’s a sense of contributing to the foundation and support of the craft brewing community. It is both an honor and a privilege to serve in the technical and analytical realms to support BA member breweries in making all realms, known and unknown, safer places for great beer.”

Technical Committee members participate in the biennial Technical Summit. Held in odd numbered years, this two-day brain storming session allows the technical committee to align their priorities with the BA strategic objectives and current industry conditions, identify project priorities, and chart the course of a two-year plan of resource development.

With the BA’s large and diverse membership, which includes many different brewery business models, one of the biggest challenges facing the Technical Committee is how to allocate available resources in a way that brings the most benefit to the largest number of members. Technical Committee members need your feedback. Next time you see a committee member, let them now how they can help you. Or send your input to technical@brewersassociation.org.