Invited speaker discusses his journey from home brewing to the genetics lab to the barley field

HudsonAlpha welcomed Eric Stockinger, PhD, as an invited speaker for the Research Seminar series. Dr. Stockinger is associate professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Sciences at The Ohio State University/OARDC. HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigator Josh Clevenger, PhD, hosted the seminar.

In his talk entitled “Molecular-genetic insight and progress in the breeding of winter-hardy barley for the U.S. Midwest”, Dr. Stockinger discussed his research focused on developing winter barley varieties with good malting qualities for the malting and brewing industries.

Dr. Stockinger told a fascinating story that began with his passion for home brewing beer (he has since brewed 502 batches of homebrew). As the price of raw materials for beer and the number of new breweries in the U.S. continued to rise, the American Brewer’s Association made it a priority to develop winter barley that can grow across the U.S. Dr. Stockinger’s interest in home brewing and his research on the genetics of winter-hardiness in cereal crops made him an ideal candidate to meet the challenge. The change in research focus also led his lab to transition to a full-fledged winter malting barley breeding program.

Over several decades, Stockinger and his lab field-tested and genetically analyzed many varieties of winter barley and found several genetic elements involved in winter hardiness and vernalization. They recently crossed several of the most promising varieties to create new varieties that will grow successfully in Ohio and the neighboring Great Lake and Midwest states. He hopes to release the varieties to farmers in the future.

To learn more about Dr. Stockinger’s research, visit his website here.

More information on HudsonAlpha Research Seminars, including the upcoming schedule, can be found at