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2017 Master Brewers Conference
27. Craft brewer influence on craft distillation and the creation of unique spirit washes

Ryan Schmiege, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR, U.S.A.

Brewhouse Operations II
Friday, October 13
8:00–9:45 a.m.

Craft distillation was the next logical progression in markets that have strongly supported craft brewing. Like beer, much of the spirits market is controlled by producers mired in historic ingredients and processes. Here we explore how craft brewers are again upending tradition, alone and through partnerships—from applying different techniques in the mash tun to using commercial enzymes. Craft distillers may utilize malts for spirits that traditional distillers wouldn’t consider and apply knowledge of flavor on the front end, which will translate through to a finished spirit. Much of the science is the same, while the application is differentiated. There’s a great deal of knowledge to share in both directions.

Ryan Schmiege is an assistant brewmaster and co-owner at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. He holds an B.S. degree in geology from the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire and a postgraduate diploma in brewing and distillation from Heriot-Watt University and has been a professional member of Master Brewers for more than a decade. Through his 13-year career with Deschutes he has been involved with every aspect of the brewing process, including two years running the brewing operations of their Portland pub and several years managing barrel operations. His current focus is on projects within and on the fringes of brewing with an aim to continually improve the extraordinary experiences of Deschutes fans, while growing and strengthening the brand. During his personal time, he enjoys canoeing, camping, and almost anything that gets him into the woods and mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

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