brewing processes. “The goal is to help enhance the utilization of
Canadian malting barley.”
Watts reports that the CMBTC is powered by seven full-time
staff who are primarily technical personnel. Leading the team is
Yushu Li, Ph.D., a plant scientist and maltster that Watts describes
as the Centre’s “secret weapon.” Li was instrumental in setting up
the CMBTC back in its earliest days and today he oversees the daily
operations of the CMBTC’s malt plant and brewery.
“Dr. Li is a world-recognized leader in the malting barley sector
with close to 30 years of experience in the field. It is also beneficial
that he is a Mandarin speaker, given the fact that China is our
largest market,” Watts said.
According to Li the CMBTC is a way to combine all the
strengths of the Canadian malting barley sector under one roof.
“This is where we bring everything together,” he said, adding the
CMBTC is unique in its service offering and differs greatly from
what is available from competitors such as those in the European
Union (EU) or Australia. “We differ because we can demonstrate
just how our barley does a better job. When we say our barley has
certain attributes, we can back it up with solid data.”
New varieties supported by CMBTC
For years AC Metcalfe and CDC Copeland have been the big news
in Canada’s malt barley sector. Now, new players include two-row
varieties such as AAC Synergy, AAC Connect, CDC Bow and CDC
Fraser. The CMBTC is instrumental in showing the qualities of
these new strains and helping to establish their reputation based
on solid data and science-driven testimony.
The CMBTC gets this done by offering a list of recommended
varieties for the crop year. They also undertake new crop quality
reports and quality overviews. The CMBTC performs malting and
brewing trials in a ‘proof is in the pudding’ method that allows producers,
grain dealers and buyers to have greater confidence in the
overall quality of Canadian barley.
According to Li, the CMBTC not only demonstrates quality, but
it invites users to come and work with them to see for themselves.
“CMBTC is where we can bring everything together in a critical
mass of support,” said Li, mentioning that the CMBTC provides
a unique service to the barley buying world. “We are unique, especially
when compared to the efforts of others such as the EU and
Australia. Our programs highlight the special and unique nature of
Canadian barley and demonstrate how it does the job.”
The CMBTC takes their knowledge to the street with dedicated
training programs. For example, the Centre’s Malt Academy offers
insightful programs for those in the sector looking to get a better
handle on malt processing, breeding and varietal development,
production, handling and brewing.
“Currently we offer four to five courses a year and have
people attending from Canada and the U.S., as well as around the
world,” said Watts, remarking that costs can run from $1,000 for a
three-day course to $2,000 for the full week. There is no charge for
CMBTC members. The group of 25 members include organizations
such as Viterra, Richardsons, Cargill, Prairie Malt, Alberta and
Saskatchewan barley growers, the Canadian Grain Commission as
well as Manitoba Agriculture, MolsonCoors, New Glarus Brewing
and Tsingtao Brewery to name a few.
The CMBTC’s one-week intensive malt processing course
gives participants both theoretical and practical instruction.
Students train on CMBTC’s 75-kilogram pilot Malthouse and Joe
White Micro-Malting Unit. “Through this program, students gain
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