Meet U.S. Malt Workshop Gives Chinese Brewers Hands-On Experience With U.S.-Origin Malt

To give Chinese brewers and importers a better sense of the quality and brewing characteristics of U.S. malt, the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) China office held the “Meet U.S. Malt Workshop” earlier this month.

The event took place in Beijing, where 14 leading microbreweries in China were invited to brew a special batch of beer using U.S. malt. The owner or chief brewer of each of the breweries was encouraged to share his or her experience with U.S. malt quality and its performance in the beers each brewed. Additionally, four speakers made presentations on selecting malt for different styles of beer, malt varieties and classification, malt specifications and using malt in a brewery setting.

“The U.S. malt is really good and our customers like the small batch of beer we brewed with it,” Sha Tao, chief tasting officer of Steppeo Brewery, said. “We are planning to include it as one of our regular beers.”

Around 85 people attended the event in-person, with over 1,000 participants joining the event virtually. Attendees could taste-test 16 different U.S. malt-brewed beers.

Several workshop participants expressed their satisfaction with U.S. malt following the program, including the founder of East Gate Brewery, Shen Libin.

“When USGC first contacted me, I thought it would be a good attempt to brew a special beer using high-quality U.S. malt,” Libin said. “The event was very successful and included a lot of big names in the industry. I learned a lot of advanced concepts and gained a deeper understanding of U.S. malt. We will try to use it in the future.”

Kris Yuan, founder of Sheng Brewery in Zhejiang Province, also described his experience with U.S. malt following the workshop, saying, “We have been using U.S. specialty malt since our brewery was established in June 2020, and with USGC’s invitation to participate in this event, we decided to brew a simple and drinkable traditional Pilsner. This batch of beer using U.S. malt met our expectations.”

The rapidly growing craft beer industry in China continues to demand quality and variety in malting barley, providing the Council an opportunity to actively promote how U.S. malt can meet Chinese interest through programming opportunities like the “Meet U.S. Malt Workshop.”

“China is the world’s largest beer market, but craft beer is less than one percent of total beer sales in China,” Bryan Lohmar, USGC’s Beijing office director said. “However, craft beer is rapidly growing in popularity and we expect it will someday be 25 percent of beer sales as it is in the U.S. today. This represents a great opportunity to introduce U.S. malt to craft brewers where demand is growing the fastest.”

Learn more about the Council’s barley work in China.