Fall 2020 Update From Jen O’Brien

by Jen O'Brien
October 9, 2020

reetings, Montana Brewers and Distillers!

I hope this newsletter finds you well enjoying all that Fall brings.

As strange and difficult as this year has been, it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. Our collective businesses have been through so much, and it’s never been more evident that the strength of local business is what pulls communities through hard times. It’s been amazing to watch how Montana brewers and distillers stepped up to support COVID-19 sanitation efforts, sponsored wildfire relief efforts, and rallied around each other to weather 2020’s countless curveballs.

As we shift into the homestretch of this year, I wanted to provide a Montana Craft Malt update…

Think back to the days you were building your facility; wiring and rewiring, figuring out wastewater discharge, firing up equipment for the first time, crossing your fingers through that first test batch (…and the better next batch), and then finally sharing your craft with those you trust for honest feedback – and then obsessing about every single bit of it.

Remember those days?

Those have been our every day for the past seven months and sufficed to say, we’ve had a very busy year.

We’ve made countless, invaluable discoveries as we’ve validated equipment and processes. We’ve tested and adjusted production recipes, business processes and pricing models. These learnings and adjustments have allowed us to improve incrementally each day.

We’ve had some awesome highlights to celebrate, including the development of two unique malt products – Garnet and Graham Cracker, and we recently celebrated the very first batch of a traditional, old-world style Pilsner malt made with the heirloom German barley cultivar Steffi. We look forward to sharing Steffi products with you soon.

And during this time, we’ve partnered with many of you to gather specific, meaningful feedback. From packaging and receiving, to the way our malt contributes to the aromas, flavors, colors, and overall quality of the finished beverages you’ve imagined. We’ve been listening to you and taking copious notes.

And after months of pushing buttons, pulling levers, actuating valves and solving problems, we’ve combined customer feedback with analytical data, both regarding our malts and our equipment, to better understand exactly which facility modifications and upgrades are needed to get us closer to our ultimate brand vision: to consistently provide nothing short of the highest quality, Montana-grown, Montana-malted grains.

To that end, we’re in the process of fine-tuning our facility, from improved air pressure regulation in our steep tanks to more efficient temperature control in our germination vessels and kiln. What we’re most excited about though, is the addition of a precision finished malt cleaning system. This system will reduce chaff, dust, and production debris in our malt bags. As a producer who takes a very personal degree of pride in what we do, this is essential.

So to the brewers and distillers who’ve been part of this journey with us so far, we offer our most sincere thanks and gratitude for riding along this journey with us. We pledge that with your continued support and open communication, we will consistently deliver on our promise of quality, consistency and community.

And to those with whom we’ve not yet had the opportunity to work, we look forward to meeting and understanding your wants, needs, and how we can best support your businesses.

And as always, we’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to reach out to me, Matt or Chris if you’d like to come tour our malthouse, or to have us visit your place and exchange ideas.

We hope the 2020 homestretch brings relief and success to you all.



 -Jennifer O’Brien

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