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Leveraging Local: Craft Malt as a Path to Success & Sustainability

Quality, price, and scalability remain drawbacks for small-batch local malt, but many small breweries argue that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Ben Keene Feb 26, 2021 - 14 min read

Leveraging Local: Craft Malt as a Path to Success & Sustainability Primary Image

The Bissell Brothers team inspects the floor-malting at Maine Malt House. Photo: Courtesy Bissell Brothers.

Just inside the entrance of Brooklyn’s Strong Rope Brewery, a framed map hangs against a white brick wall. It’s prominently displayed and hard to miss, just to the left of a handsome, black walnut bar top. But instead of orienting visitors to the neighborhood, or even the borough, this map depicts the entire state of New York. Look closely, and you’ll see familiar place names, but you’ll also spot locations that don’t necessarily ring a bell: orchards, fruit farms, and hop yards. For owners Jason Sahler and Christina Quintero however, these producers are crucial to the success of their business, a brewery that transitioned to sourcing all of its ingredients from New York in 2018.

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Author of The Great Northeast Brewery Tour, a contributor to The Oxford Companion to Beer, and former editor of BeerAdvocate, Ben Keene has judged beer competitions across the US and has spoken at industry conferences and conventions. He lives in Seattle.