Beer is an agricultural product with many traditions and styles born out of the availability of locally grown ingredients. Today’s brewing supply chains operate at a much different scale, but developments in craft malting infrastructure, and the need for diversified and resilient cropland, offer an opportunity for reconnecting regional grain farmers, maltsters, and brewers. This BA Collab Hour webinar will explore the potential of regionalizing a portion of a brewery’s grain supply, and the benefits this could have to local agricultural communities, minimizing environmental impact, and differentiating products in a crowded marketplace.
About the Speakers
Jesse Bussard, Executive Director
North American Craft Maltsters Guild
Jesse Bussard is the Executive Director of the Craft Maltsters Guild. Previous to their work with the guild, Jesse worked as an independent writer for over a decade covering topics related to craft beer, agriculture, and conservation. Additionally, during their previous tenure living in Montana, Jesse co-founded and organized some of the state's best craft beer events including Bozeman Craft Beer Week, Beer Maven: A Women's Beer Education Series, the Montana Brewers Conference, and Montana Funk Fest, the first sour beer and kombucha festival ever held in the Big Sky State. Jesse has been a member of the Pink Boots Society and the North American Guild of Beer Writers since 2016. Additionally, they hold degrees in Crop Science (M.S.) and Animal Science (B.S.) from the University of Kentucky and Penn State University, respectively. Outside of work, Jesse enjoys reading, growing mushrooms, foraging, and spending time outdoors. They currently reside in the traditional lands and territories of the Susquehannock people, also known as central Pennsylvania by settlers.
John Clarke, Brewing & Distilling Coordinator
Artisan Grain Collaborative
John Clarke is the Brewing & Distilling Coordinator for the Artisan Grain Collaborative (AGC) based in Madison, Wisconsin. At the AGC, John facilitates information sharing and best practices, organizes events, gatherings, and networking opportunities to support the Midwest craft brewing and distilling community interested in sourcing regionally grown grains. John is a marketing professional with over 13 years of experience creating promotional campaigns and building community partnerships around environmental initiatives for brands in the food and beverage industry. Prior to the AGC, John developed product launches and environmental outreach campaigns for Midwest communities with the New Belgium Brewery and Goose Island Beer Company. Most recently he managed marketing programs for Sitka Salmon Shares, helping to grow a direct market for responsibly harvested seafood from Alaska's small boat fishing fleets. John is also active with his family's farm in Illinois learning firsthand the on-farm and market challenges faced by diversified row crop farmers in the Midwest. Outside of work, John enjoys fly fishing, restoring bicycles, and spending time outdoors with his family. John earned his degree in marketing (B.S.) from Iowa State University in 2008.
Jessica Jones, Brewer & Co-Owner
Giant Jones Brewing
Jessica Jones is the brewer and co-owner of Giant Jones Brewing Company in Madison, Wisconsin, a certified organic brewery run by queer women and 2022 Great American Beer Festival bronze medal winner for Other Strong. She is a Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Grand Master and Advanced Cicerone, with particular interests in barleywine, organic certification, and returnable bottles.
Kevin Smith, Professor
University of Minnesota
Kevin Smith is a Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics. He directs plant breeding research programs working with barley and oats, and is also engaged in a domestication project to develop a new perennial oil seed crop from the native prairie species Silphium integrefolium. His research in barley includes both spring and winter barley for the Midwest targeting the malting and brewing industries. The breeding and genetics research is motivated by the potential to diversify cropping systems in the Midwest that are currently dominated by corn and soybeans. Since 2011 he has coordinated the Winter Malting Barley Trial that evaluates barley varieties and advanced breeding lines in over 20 states. Current barley research projects include investigating resistance to barley diseases, understanding the genetics and physiological basis for winter survival, and characterizing ecosystem benefits of double cropping systems that includes winter barley.