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Meet Cornell’s new brewing expert

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Lindsey Hadlock

Kaylyn Kirkpatrick

The New York brewing industry is getting a helping hand.

On Aug. 20, Kaylyn Kirkpatrick joined the Department of Food Science as brewing extension associate based at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York. She will help brewers across the state get the most out of their products.

Kirkpatrick earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in food science at Oregon State University, where she studied in the Brewing Science Lab. She is co-founder of Intea Kombucha in Corvallis, Oregon, and most recently worked as a beer chemist at New Belgium Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, Colorado.

We spoke to her about her ambitions in this new role and what she sees ahead for New York’s brewing industry.

As brewing extension associate, what will you be doing day to day?

I envision each day being unlike the other and driven by the changing needs of the brewing industry. I may coordinate beer or hop analysis in our beverage analytics lab, design and implement educational workshops on beer and raw ingredient quality, or work with brewers to improve their process and product offerings. Initially, I plan to engage with brewers and hop growers around the state to determine what areas we should be focusing on and where educational resources are most needed.

What is it about Cornell that has you most excited?

I’m very excited to build upon the innovative and growing craft beverage industry in New York and join the Cornell AgriTech community in Geneva. Cornell AgriTech is fortunate to be surrounded by passionate food and beverage entrepreneurs and cutting-edge food science research, all in one place.

What are you passionate about in this role?

I am passionate about helping others succeed in expressing their vision and sharing their craft. Having personal experience building a small food business, I understand some of the challenges facing food entrepreneurs. I also understand how thrilling it is to grow a brand and see customers enjoy your product. I hope that by working with New York brewers and hop growers to develop and improve the quality of their products, I can be a part of that excitement.

What’s your favorite style of beer?

I find myself getting more interested in food and beer pairings these days and so my preference for style of beer is constantly changing. But I love trying new things, and I am excited to see a lot of creative and nontraditional recipes coming out of the craft beer scene in New York.

How will your work benefit the New York state brewing industry?

The brewing industry here in New York has experienced massive growth in the craft beer segment in recent years, and a big part of this is due to farm breweries. I think one of the most pressing issues for farm brewers will be finding reliable access to high-quality New York grown ingredients and managing the quality of those raw materials throughout the brewing process. I will bring my own experience working in brewing quality assurance and work closely with New York brewers to apply best quality practices to their individual process. I have the time, energy and resources to troubleshoot brewing and raw ingredient quality so that brewers can focus on managing their process, developing new products and crafting truly amazing beers.

How will you know you’re successful in your new role?

I will know that I’ve been successful in my role when New York is recognized both nationally and globally for its regional craft breweries and outstanding beer quality.

Matt Hayes is managing editor and social media officer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.