Craft brewers produce premium beer on a small but spirited scale, though often can’t maintain in-house laboratories to manage quality control. Calgary’s Raft Brew Labs, comprised of a small team of chemists and microbiologists, provides the scientific analysis brewers need to ensure their end-products are safe and consistent.
In 2016, Rosthern, SK, barley farmer Matt Enns escaped the Prairie deep freeze to relax in the Florida sun for the winter. More than a mere getaway, he intended to use this time to formulate his next career move after having expanded his stake in the family farm. As fate would have it, while he calculated his agricultural future, he joined a craft beer club near Orlando for the duration of his holiday. Its enthusiastic young members hosted tasting events where they sampled new and unique local brews produced by Florida’s vibrant craft brewing industry. His time with the club inspired Enns to launch Maker’s Malt, a micro-maltster venture. Established in 2018, the business would in turn help inspire those in Saskatchewan’s fledgling craft beer industry to take flight.
With the explosion of craft brewing comes a food waste problem. Spent grain accounts for about 85 per cent of brewing byproduct. Big breweries generate thousands of tonnes daily that is sold or given away as animal feed. Craft breweries, especially those in urban areas, don’t produce enough to make its distribution as feed financially viable. They have little choice, but to dispose of it as compost.
In 2017, Wade and Scott McAllister realized their mutual dream of seeing a craft beer brewed exclusively using barley grown on their family farm.