EP-308 Amy Todd of Zymology Labs
Through her business—Zymology Labs, based in Essex Junction, Vermont—Amy offers analytical testing, training, and consulting for the fermented beverage industry. And she’s working to expand the conversation on beer quality in both producer and consumer circles.
Although Amy spends much of her time in her own lab space, she’s no stranger to brewery environments. She was a keen homebrewer in college, and the “What’s Brewing?” and food science courses she took during her chemistry degree led to her lightbulb moment: that she wanted to pursue a career in beer quality. After a course and apprenticeship with the American Brewers Guild, she got her start in the cellar at Burlington, Vermont’s Magic Hat Brewing Company before ultimately running their lab. It was there she started wondering what smaller breweries did without the same access to equipment that she had, and the idea for Zymology Labs was born.
Despite the name of her business, Amy is quick to remind us that quality isn’t just about the lab. She actually prefers the term “quality program,” as it indicates that there are many processes breweries can have in place to help monitor their product without requiring their own lab setup.
Passionate about demystifying what a quality program entails and how to set one up, Amy talks us through some of the basic steps any brewery can take to get started. We also discuss the difference between a quality program and a sensory program, and how they complement each other.
We then turn our attention to some of the quality issues that have hit industry headlines of late, ranging from ABV mislabeling to exploding cans. Amy helps to shed some light on what causes these issues, how they can be prevented, and how prevalent they actually are.
You’ll hear Amy stress that quality isn’t just about preventing things from going wrong. It’s about making sure as many elements of the brewing process as possible go right, so brewers can provide a consistent product for their customers. And if quality’s not a priority for your brewery? As Amy says, there are thousands of other breweries out there for consumers to choose from.