Closing Speaker

Barley and Beer: A New Beginning?

Keith Armstrong.JPG

The Master Brewers concept of “United We Brew™” encompasses efforts to increase the mutual acquaintance of all brewers; inclusive of barley and hop culture, malting; architecture, engineering, power; scientists, academics, experts; which naturally includes sensory and food specialists.

The interests of the Brewing Trade include the need to progress; ensuring that we encourage EAGER customers. Today, more than at any time since prohibition ended, we need an industry message, a positive message. We need to invite customers and consumers into our product.

I’d like to challenge individuals to develop their outlooks. Let’s focus on constantly improving how well we connect into the mindsets of all consumers. My experience is that we have tremendous opportunities in front of us all. That is, if we can simply transmogrify into a cadre of individuals who consistently put forward startlingly positive and supportive messaging.

We should love and proselytize every aspect of the greater goodness that is Beer. Barley is widely respected as the first fully domesticated plant. This was likely intimately entwined with barley beer being the first fully domesticated alcoholic fermentation. Barley is the truly ancient grain; and grew to become the global grain up until around the time of prohibition.

We might not require a Goddess of Barley and Beer to reunite our reverence and respect for barley and for beer. But looking to the future for all of us; we do require that we all invite more consumers into beer.

And an example of a good start might be to invite more people back into appreciating barley. Let’s discuss how and why we should consider this; for the future success of us all.


Keith Armstrong is Senior R&D Brewer at Molson Coors Canada.

Like many brewers attending the Calgary conference; Keith involved himself in home-brewing during his university years; and still shares in brewing efforts at home with his wife.

Keith has brewed commercially from 40 hL. to 1,000 hL. brew scales; while working in breweries from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific; developing some of the earliest craft brews in the 1980’s in Canada and 1990’s in New Zealand; as well as having worked with a plethora of global beers as well.

Keith has served the Master Brewers Association of Canada in roles up to, and including, President. Keith has presented at MBAA and at IBD conferences.

Keith loves to challenge people to know better, and to respect more, those critical components which are the foundations of our trade: barley and yeast.

Keith, along with his family, are dual-citizens of Canada and New Zealand.

In New Zealand; they have lived in Timaru and in Greymouth in the South Island.

In Canada, Keith has lived from Yellowknife in the NorthWest Territories; to Victoria on Vancouver Island; to St. John’s in Newfoundland; as well as points in between.

His wife, Karen, has worked in Engineering, Design and Education; and has done some writing and publishing.

His son has a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from Univ. of Toronto; and is currently doing Post-Doctoral work at U. of T. seeking to improve the Chemistry Education curriculum.

His daughter has a PhD in Oncology from Univ. of Adelaide, Australia; and is currently doing Post-Doctoral work in Pediatric Gastroenterology at Univ. of Alberta in Edmonton.

As you can imagine; the whole family love to travel; and water and volcanoes are great attractions for all of them.

When it comes to beer; Keith loves almost all beers styles. Keith thoroughly enjoys clean beers that show the brewers have handled the malts well; and fully respected their yeast. ​