Meet Steve LePoidevin, Sales Director for Crisp. His passion for malting was brought to light as BSG got the chance to chat with him about his role at Crisp, upcoming malts to the Crisp profile, industry trends and some of his takes on craftbrewing.
What is your role at Crisp?
The sales team are on the road a lot; right now, there are 6 of us in total covering the world! I’ve been in malting for 32 years, of which the last 8 have been with Crisp, and am a qualified Master Maltster, having spent my first 10 years in the industry in production. I came into malting through the raw material route, by studying agriculture in college, and malting seemed a good halfway stop between my interests in beer and farming!
Have you found any commonalities among Crisp customers?
A passion for their craft, whether it be beer or whisky. Everyone is enthusiastic and passionate regardless of their role, and there’s a lot of friendship despite the competitive aspect and it’s a very social industry. Things move a little slower in distilling, and there are not as many open taps as craftbrewing. However, despite being a slightly different customer base, there’s still plenty of passion and enthusiasm, and social in nature.
What are you most proud about working at Crisp?
The shared dedication and enthusiasm. We’re all working together for the same end. We’re a great team, we share that enthusiasm and drive to do what’s best for our customers, and we know everyone’s gonna help everyone out.
What’s the most rewarding part about your job?
Seeing the great diversity of craft beer and whisky around the world, and knowing that we are part of it.
What malts have you been most excited about?
Our new range of speciality malts – we have new equipment which uses a different production technique to produce much more consistent and flavoursome speciality malts, but also has the potential to make products from more delicate materials that are damaged by tumbling in a traditional drum. *This is something affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, full production has yet to begin, though we did have some samples at CBC 2019. There’s a sneak peek of the new units on the Homepage, in the background of the About Us image.
What malt do you think warrants more attention?
Choice – it’s proanthocyanidin free, so has no polyphenols. This has many benefits in terms of beer stability and haze reduction, while also bizarrely, according to anecdotal evidence, reducing oxidative darkening on the hazy IPAs. Choice was developed using natural plant breeding techniques, so is definitely non-GMO.
What is an interesting fact not many people know about Crisp?
Our floor maltings is no secret, but not many people know that it is 1 of only 3 traditional floor maltings still operating in England.
What comes to mind when you think about beer in the United States?
From a maltster’s point of view, in American beer the hops get too much use and too much credit!
What are some of the interesting trends in craftbrewing you’ve seen around the world?
Most craft brewing is built around the standard formula regardless of country – Pale ale, IPA, stout/porter, lager, amber ale, wheat beer etc, though these get skewed to local taste and also local ingredients for the more exotic-flavoured beers.
What are your interests/hobbies?
Cycling & generally keeping fit on the one hand, drinking & eating on the other, and hopefully the two cancel each other out…
I also like a sporting challenge – I did a 2 mile open water swim in the Serpentine in the middle of London in 2018, despite hating swimming to complete the London Classics (London Marathon, Ride London 100 mile bike ride and the swim)! I have also enjoyed cycling up Lookout Mountain with Chad from Denver during CBC in 2019, and also completed a 62 mile cycle sportive in PyeongChang in South Korea with a distilling customer!
Any life lessons you learned from beer or brewing that you would like to share?
Don’t cover up mistakes – confess, learn from it and move on. That’s life in general and in malting. It’s what I’ve learned during my career.
How can people keep up-to-date with Crisp (social media, etc)?
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/crispmalt/
Twitter – @CrispMalt
Instagram – @CrispMaltings
Youtube – Crisp Malt https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6UxhITEsqJId5ooig5gGFg/featured
Sign up to mailing list on the Crisp homepage, check out socials, and during COVID-19 they’re doing weekly webinars.