Craft Brewers and Barley Growers Advocate for Strong Barley Policy at Annual Hill Climb

The Brewers Association (BA), and the National Barley Improvement Committee of the American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) were on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. yesterday to advocate for strong barley policy with members of Congress.

Annual Barley Hill Climb

The 2019 annual hill climb included a reception and educational component for House staffers and members of Congress.

People like Corey Mosher, a hop and barley farmer from Bouckville, N.Y. and Scott Dorsch of Odell Brewing Co in Fort Collins, Colo. were on hand to share their experiences.

Mosher grows barley in a state that incentivizes breweries to use locally grown products, and has first hand experience with the challenges small growers can face and how other other areas of the country can encourage their local farmers to grow crops like barley.

Dorsch, Odell’s agronomist (an expert in the science of soil management and crop production) is well aware of how different styles of barley, hops, and wheat can influence beer flavor, aroma, and hue.

The BA Invests in Barley Industry Research and Projects

Chris Swersey, Chuck Skypeck, and Damon Scott, who work for the BA’s technical division, were on hand to talk about the BA’s work with our agricultural supply chain partners.

This work includes lobbying on issues such as the U.S.Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative and the U.S. Small Grains Genomics Initiative, as well as pushing for increased funding for the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services (USDA ARS) and the BA’s research funding efforts. In fact, over the past four years, the BA has invested over $1.1 million in barley industry research and projects.

Attendees Learned About What Barley Brings to Beer

Attendees learned about the characteristics that barley gives to beer, such as its color and flavor, and that it is the primary source of fermentable sugar in beer (which the yeast turns into alcohol).

They also tasted malt samples from Briess Malt & Ingredients Co. and learned firsthand how barley malts are made. Then, they sampled several different styles of beer, ranging from barleywines to chocolate stouts, to appreciate the flavors and quality outcomes that barley provides in beer.

Craft Brewers Support U.S. Malt

No Barley, No Beer.” – National Barley Growers Association (NBGA)

Breweries across the country get their malting barley from a range of producers both large and small, but craft maltsters are a specifically growing segment in the industry. The number of U.S. malting companies overall is growing fast in recent years, rising from just 18 malthouses in 2009, to nearly 100 malthouses in 2019, located across 28 states.

Small and independent breweries have a direct connection to American farmers. In fact, over 60 percent of U.S.-grown barley is used in beer, and though U.S. craft brewers only produce 14 percent of beer sold in the U.S., they consume 35-40 percent of the malt used by all U.S. brewers.

For every new job created in the brewing industry a new job is created in the agricultural industry. The BA and remains committed to working with our supply chain partners on a broad range of issues.

Katie Marisic is federal affairs manager at the Brewers Association (BA). Based in Washington, D.C. she plans and executes legislative, regulatory and political strategies to drive the associations federal affairs presence on Capitol Hill. Prior to working for the BA, Katie was vice president of political affairs at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions. She got her start in politics working on congressional campaigns during the ’06 and ’08 elections. A Pennsylvania native, Katie is a long time craft brewing supporter. In 2013 she helped to open Atlas Brew Works in Washington, D.C. When she is not advocating for the craft brewing community on Capitol Hill you can sometimes find her pouring beers at a local tasting room.

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