In 2016, the Brewers Association Technical Committee and technical subcommittees addressed many issues and developed a wide range of resources. The projects outlined here do not constitute a comprehensive list, but do represent a robust overview of how the technical department is working to ensure the future success of craft breweries.
Building upon the successful launch of Online Brewery Safety Training, four new video lessons and quizzes were developed by Grand Valley State University. At year end, 4,000 users had completed 11,000 courses.
Sustainability Benchmarking and Wastewater Guidance
2016 featured the release of the 2015 Sustainability Benchmarking Report. Sustainability Benchmarking Tools were developed to facilitate data collection for subsequent annual benchmarking reports. Participating breweries can now anonymously compare their data and performance to brewers across the country, while simultaneously gauging their progress towards internal goals. Industry expert John Stier was hired as sustainability mentor in 2016. Stier assists BA members with utilizing the benchmarking tools.
Wastewater Management Guidance Manual was published to provide a more advanced look at wastewater strategies and provides information that can help develop an effective partnership with local wastewater treatment facilities.
Matt Stinchfield, as safety ambassador, and Dick Cantwell, as quality ambassador, spoke with craft brewers throughout the country and encouraged the development of formal safety and quality programs. Stinchfield traveled to state guild meetings in Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Arizona, Illinois and Washington. Cantwell spoke at guild meetings in Texas, Indiana, Maine, Ohio, Virginia, Montana and Iowa. Both presented at the 2016 Craft Brewers Conference.
The Brewers Association funded 22 research grants, totaling approximately $400,000. Research topics included disease resistance in the Cascade hop variety, the development of malting barley varieties better suited to all-malt beer production, and the publication of guidance for more sustainable production of raw ingredients.
A draught line cleaning study was also initiated, in partnership with NSF International Applied Research Center and the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State, to create a deeper understanding of the development of biofilm in draught lines, and validate or disprove current guidance in the Draught Beer Quality Manual.
Supply Chain Specialist
Chris Swersey continued his work as supply chain specialist by communicating craft brewer-specific raw material needs to industry stakeholders, including the Hop Research Council, Hop Growers of America, National Barley Improvement Committee, American Malting Barley Association, National Barley Growers Association and the Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute.
The BA Quality subcommittee created Good Manufacturing Practices for Craft Brewers to provide a foundation for quality and food safety programs and to serve as a guide to compliance with current U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations.
A new engineering subcommittee was established to leverage the engineering skills and knowledge of contributing members to benefit BA member breweries. The subcommittee members will begin to develop resources and meet regularly in 2017.