Get to Know a BA Subcommittee: Supply Chain

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This post is the sixth 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.

Small and independent craft brewers depend on an adequate supply of malt, hops, other ingredients, and packaging supplies that meet their unique quality requirements for the success of their beer brands and their businesses. The Brewers Association (BA) Supply Chain Subcommittee , which is part of the larger Technical Committee, works to ensure hop and barley grower groups and suppliers understand craft brewer demand and quality needs.

Meet the Supply Chain Subcommittee

The Supply Chain Subcommittee has 12 brewery members and is chaired by Mitch Steele of New Realm Brewing Company. Subcommittee activities are supported by BA technical staffers Damon Scott, Chuck Skypeck and Chris Swersey, as well as Chief Economist Bart Watson.

“Since its inception, the Supply Chain Subcommittee has focused on malt and hop supply. Over time, our scope has expanded to cover all facets of the craft beer industry supply chain, including bottles, cans, crowns, and much more.”

Vinnie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewing Company

“Since its inception, the Supply Chain Subcommittee has focused on malt and hop supply,” says committee member Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Company. “Over time, our scope has expanded to cover all facets of the craft beer industry supply chain, including bottles, cans, crowns, and much more. It’s great working with like-minded brewers on the subcommittee who are contributing their time, knowledge, and enthusiasm for the betterment of craft beer. This subcommittee is an extremely valuable resource for the entire craft beer community.”

“Our job is to make sure craft brewers of all sizes have the best access to quality ingredients and packaging materials.”

Mitch Steele, New Realm Brewing Company

“I am so impressed with the commitment, expertise and experience of this group,” says the subcommittee’s new chair, Mitch Steele. “Our job is to make sure craft brewers of all sizes have the best access to quality ingredients and packaging materials. This includes understanding and communicating risks and issues with future supplies, assisting with evaluation of new hops and malt varieties, and making sure brewers have a resource to understand best practices for selecting what they brew with. It’s pretty amazing to be part of this very important team.”

The mission of the Supply Chain Subcommittee is: 

  • To function as a recognized resource for ingredient and packaging knowledge within the craft brewing industry
  • To foster communications between craft brewers and their supply chain stakeholder partners that allows for rapid response and long-term strategic planning
  • To inform supply chain stakeholder groups of agricultural policy outreach efforts, thereby influencing hop and barley supply chain outcomes to the benefit of the craft brewing industry
  • To serve as a trusted resource for malt barley and hop growers and suppliers, other ingredient suppliers, packaging material manufacturers and suppliers, and researchers, thereby providing a means for the BA to influence supply chain outcomes to the benefit of the craft brewing industry

The subcommittee monitors developments in hop and barley markets, shapes member communications on ingredients and supplies, informs BA technical and government affairs staff on federal agricultural policy outreach efforts, and develops best practice guidance to inform members’ purchasing decisions. The subcommittee also leads efforts to direct annual BA support of competitive research grants in hops and barley by identifying areas of greatest need for craft brewers, and assessing grant relevance and value.

“I’m proud to be part of the Supply Chain Subcommittee to continue to help the craft brewing community have reliable, safe, and quality ingredients and packaging supplies. This is what is special about our industry…that collaborative spirit…and that is why I love being part of this community.”

Jeremy Moynier, Stone Brewing Company

“At Stone Brewing, we have always been involved in groups and efforts to help the craft brewing industry,” says Jeremy Moynier of Stone Brewing Company. “This started on day one with our owners, Steve Wagner (who has also served on the Supply Chain Subcommittee) and Greg Koch, and as we have grown along with the industry, we have grown in our participation and number of our folks involved in various industry groups. When Mitch Steele, current Supply Chain subcommittee chair, started at Stone Brewing in 2006, he brought the same ethos and took us even further down the road in getting connected with our partners and ingredients, joining such groups as the Hop Quality Group and Hop Research Council. I rely on my connection with our suppliers, industry groups, and fellow brewers for insights and collaboration, and have forged long-lasting relationships. I consider many of the people we have worked with over the years true friends. I’m proud to be part of the Supply Chain Subcommittee to continue to help the craft brewing community have reliable, safe, and quality ingredients and packaging supplies. This is what is special about our industry…that collaborative spirit…and that is why I love being part of this community.”

The subcommittee meets monthly for regular meetings, and conducts project work between conference calls. Current project work underway includes hop selection guidelines for small brewers, hop contracting guidelines, and a BA member beer can liner communication.

Interested in Joining a BA Committee?

Brewers Association committees help shape and strategize the priorities for your association. Through committees, new ideas are formed, and the effort of the many talented brewery and guild individuals can be carried directly to the Board of Directors through its co-chairs. Additionally, committee work is a pre-requisite for service on the BA Board, as it acquaints members more deeply with BA values and projects.

While committees are capped to ensure a useful working group size, there are often opportunities for committees to welcome new members. Do you or someone at your brewery have the desire and skills necessary to serve on one of the Brewers Association’s committees? Contact Marc Preo with any questions or to show interest in committee participation.