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Posted by
Maddie Darrell
on 19/12/23

High-quality British malt has never been more popular in the US.

Josh wearing a Crisp Malt uniform, smiling at the cameraWith brewing and distilling malt demand in the US rising, it’s the perfect time to introduce our first North American technical sales manager: Josh Wurzbacher. He will be working with breweries across the nation to ensure they get the best out of Crisp Malt.

Philadelphia-based Josh is steeped in the best traditions of both American brewing and British malt. A decade ago, he left the world of restaurants to follow his passion for brewing; he then spent seven years at Yard’s, the world-renowned Philadelphia brewery famous for its English-style ales.

I ran the cask programme at Yard’s, that was such a pleasure as English beer had always been special to me, and I grew to really love and respect cask, or real, ale.

39-year-old Josh says.

The use of Crisp’s malts is not confined to one beer style, of course; they work beautifully across the board. We caught up with Josh to find out how he can help American breweries, big and small, to get the best out of them.

Posted by
Maddie Darrell
on 19/12/23

Tell us more about your role …

“My title is Technical Sales Manager, but my focus goes beyond sales. That’s because we work exclusively through Brewers’ Supply Group (BSG) – they are the channel through which our malt is supplied to breweries.”

“So, my role is more about technical support for brewers, as well as for the BSG team. I’ll be there, available to chat and discuss all manner of things at the key conferences and trade shows. And I’ll also be doing some really fun stuff, like collaborations with breweries on interesting styles. It’ll all help spread the word about Crisp Malt and the quality of the malts the company produces.”

Do you have any interesting collaborations lined up?

“Yes! We’re going to be doing a lot of work with our floor-malted varieties. I’m going to be helping brew a Czech Pilsner with our Hana Malt, an English Mild with Maris Otter, and I’m hoping to do a big Barley Wine with Chevallier Heritage Malt really soon.”

It sounds like you’ll be busy – what does an average day look like for you?

“I spend a lot of time reaching out to our brewery partners throughout the Northeast. There’s plenty of communication with our partners at BSG, and I field frequent inquiries that we get through the website.

“Because I’ve been in the industry a long time, I’ve made a lot of friends – so I do a lot of touching base with them to get a better idea of how we can serve the market. It’s important to listen: to hear what brewers want; to keep up to date with changing needs; and to take account of their views of how we can best serve them.” 

Group of men pose in front of Crisp Malt branded sacks of malt


Are there any particular breweries you’re aiming to work with?

“There’s no brewery I don’t want to work with! I think that’s the interesting thing: there’s no brewery too small, because everybody is making world-class beer now – and oftentimes, the smaller breweries are in a better position to make more creative, true-to-craft beers.”

“I’m covering all of North America, but my particular focus will be on the Northeast USA and the East Coast. We have lots of great partners here who use 100 percent British base malt in their beer. I think the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast of the USA is probably the most mature beer market in the world: it moves so fast that you have to be on the bleeding edge of trends.”

“A lot of breweries here already use English malt. You know, even as a homebrewer I used Maris Otter in my first recipes – and I think that approach is becoming more fashionable again. There’s an evolution as a brewer where you go from classic to extreme styles, and then you come back again, and just want to drink English Mild!”

That’s interesting. So, do you think that’s what’s happening in US brewing at the moment? 

“IPAs will always be a huge part of everyone’s portfolio, but I think consumers are now becoming more educated in beer, and they’re learning what a brewer’s beer is. These are beers like Mild, or Czech Pilsner, your four-and-a-half percent ABV beers, not just your 10 percent triple-dry-hopped styles.”

What do you do outside of work?

I’m pretty active. Hiking, hunting, fishing, running, lots of exercising! I spend a lot of time with my dog, a three-year-old Great Dane called George. I love to be with my family outdoors.

Josh holding his great dane

What appealed to you about working with Crisp Malt?

“The thing that really stood out was the legacy – it’s a 150-year-old company that provides tradition and legacy to our brewers. It’s a business that has really stood the test of time.

“The other thing is the way they work with growers; how they work directly with farmers to source the best barley. That gives the highest possible level of control over quality.”

What’s the future looking like for Crisp Malt in the USA?

Meet Josh Wurzbacher our Technical Sales Manager in the USA, holding a malt sack in a brewery.“Exciting!

“It’s been a tumultuous couple of years – not just in the USA but everywhere – and I think there’s going to be a huge push for more easy-drinking beers, from low-ABV pale ales to rice lagers.

“Crisp Malt is super-invested in the US market, and we’re here to provide the highest quality malt and technical support too. No inquiry is too small!”

Want to find out more? Get in touch with Josh via email

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