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Everyone, not least those in the craft brewing sector, can use a little help these days. That’s why Crisp has just added to the support on offer by appointing an expert in quality control.

Sarah Marshall has a degree in microbiology and biochemistry; an IBD brewing diploma; and years of experience managing quality in a large British brewery. She has joined the maltsters as one of the company’s sales managers.

If you’re dealing in a commodity, it’s all about sales. But if you’re providing premium ingredients to craft brewers, it’s all about support. That’s why we’ve taken on another team member with plenty of practical experience in the brewhouse – as well as scientific qualifications. Sarah adds another great string to our bow. Colin Johnston, Director

He says to brewers, “When you meet Sarah, you’ll note her energy and enthusiasm. When you’ve had the chance to pick her brains on some technical issue, you’ll note just how much she knows – and how useful her support might be to you and members of your team. Whether that’s straight away or at some point in the future, I know she’ll be keen to help.”

Sarah was attracted to Crisp’s ‘Purpose’ and ‘Values’, saying they tie in well with her own four mantras around sales:
  1. Always look to add value.
  2. Sell only the best, and only what’s appropriate.
  3. Be endlessly curious: keep listening, keep learning, keep delighting in new knowledge.
  4. Keep sharing – back to mantra number 1.

Craft Brewers Technical Support Team at Crisp Malt

1. Always look to add value to a customer’s business

“I’ll be acting like a consultant – where customers would find that useful. Most of my career has been around identifying issues, solving problems, and supporting new product development. All the study tours and seminars run by the IBD, and all the relationships I’ve made in the industry have given great insights I can now pass on to craft brewers. That’s over and above the technical support that comes from my own experience.

“It’s been said by others at Crisp before, but it doesn’t make it any the less true: we succeed when our customers succeed. So my role is largely about helping them succeed.

“I’m really excited at the prospect of helping breweries with problem solving; offering advice on quality controls; giving tips for saving energy and money; discussing how to reduce waste. And if I don’t know the answer to something, I can call on someone at the maltings who does.”

2. Sell only the best, and only what’s appropriate

Crisp Malt Sacks“We bought malts from Crisp when I was at Shepherd Neame, and I spent many a happy hour analysing them, the worts they produced and the beers they created. I can confirm that they were superb – proper, premium ingredients. I wouldn’t have joined Crisp if they hadn’t produced malt I’d be proud to promote.

“Quality is right there at the top of my agenda, but so is appropriateness. It’s no good suggesting a brewer substitutes another company’s malt with one of our malts unless it’s capable of achieving the exact results the brewer is looking for.  Part of the joy of the job will be to make people happy. That means understanding what they are trying to achieve – whether that’s with an existing beer or a new recipe – and offering the right advice and the right ingredients.”

3. Be endlessly curious: keep listening, keep learning, keep delighting in new knowledge

“However well qualified you are, you can always learn more.

“Yes, science qualifications provide a great base. Yes, working in quality control provides invaluable experience and lots of new knowledge. In my case, working with mash tuns and lauter tuns, and with all forms of packaging mean I’m prepared for a wide range of challenges from customers looking for advice.

“But also, yes, if academia and experience teach you one thing, it’s that there is always more to know. I’m super-aware of the many areas where there’s more to learn – from colleagues, customers, research and the industry. And I’m getting my teeth stuck in.”

4. Keep sharing – back to mantra number 1

Technical Support for Craft Brewers in the Crisp Malt Lab at Great Ryburgh“Of course there are things that are competitor sensitive in the brewing sector. Of course there are things that are confidential.

“But overall, this industry is companionable and helpful, and it is in all craft brewers’ interests to see market share growing. I’m so pleased to be joining a company that aims to support that ambition, not least by helping with quality controls: something right up my street!

“So whatever experience and knowledge I have, whatever I learn along the way, providing it’s not proprietorial or confidential, and providing my customers are interested, I will be sharing. That’s just one of the ways I can help add value to their businesses.”

Sarah says during her time in the brewing industry, the biggest change has been the adventurousness in drinking patterns. Perceptions have moved on and there is an appetite for new flavours and taste experiences. “Obviously hops have been enjoying their time in the sun,” she says, “with American hops responding to, or creating demand for big, bold, sometimes extreme, flavours.”

So what comes next? We asked Sarah.

“Using malt in innovative ways of course. You may well say, ‘She works for Crisp so she would say that, wouldn’t she?’ – and I’d respond with, ‘That might be true. But just watch this space and you will see more and more craft brewers experimenting with the subtle flavours, aromas, mouthfeels and finishes brought about by playing tunes with malts. Bet your bottom dollar.’”

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