Grant funding available to expand brewing industry in Pennsylvania

LANCASTER, Pa. -- Pennsylvania continues to be a leading state for craft brewing.

3.7 million barrels of craft beer are produced in Pennsylvania per year, according to the Brewers Association; that’s the most in the entire country.

The Department of Agriculture is trying to promote the industry even further.
Have a way to increase the quality, profitability, production, and sale of malt and brewed beverages in Pennsylvania?
There is cash available; the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced grants for just that on its website.

"We support growing markets and markets that have challenges to them," said Shannon Powers, press secretary for the Pa. Dept. of Agriculture.

Funding will go to people with ideas on how to increase the production of hops and barley

"For example, with the craft brewing industry it's very hard to source barley and hops cause it's not that big of a crop in Pennsylvania," explained Powers.

It will also be given to those interested in marketing the beer industry and bringing more tourism into the Commonwealth.

"A brewfest for example was one of the funded projects. We're trying to fund a growing industry to help promote that growth and that in turn supports the growers that contribute to the craft brewing," added Powers.

"As soon as I think the market is exploding, you see another brewery pop up," explained Jimmy Diener, who works for Wacker Brewing Company.

Wacker Brewing Company is just one of a number of breweries in Lancaster County

"I would say it's a family. There's - pretty much - if you need something, and we don't have it, it's an emergency, you call up any brewers, if they have it there's a good chance you just swap it or sell it," he added.

Wacker Brewing Company has a long history in Lancaster County.

Diener says Wacker is trying to expand its product, hire full time workers, and find a new, larger location where they'll be able to can in house.

"It's going to be like this but better, from what I understand, so our brewery is going to expand, along with product and everything else," added Dean.

Managers at Wacker Brewing Company are looking into the grants being offered by the state.

Interested people must have a one page concept paper and a draft budget by email to the Department Of Agriculture by Friday August 2.

Email chariley@pa.gov with those documents.

Applicants whose concept papers are approved by the board will be invited to submit a project proposal and grant application.

Proposals should be sent electronically as well and 12 copies must be hand-delivered or sent by United States Mail and postmarked on or before the same date.

Interested can find all necessary information on the application process here.

Dan LaBert, Executive Director the Brewers of Pennsylvania responded to the state's grant program: "As the state's official brewers guild, the Brewers of Pennsylvania applauds the Department of Agriculture’s continuing support of craft beer through its grant program. Pennsylvania ranks number-one in the United States in the number of barrels of craft beer produced annually and second in the U.S. with a 5.8 million dollar economic impact. Craft beer in Pennsylvania continues to flourish, but there’s plenty of room to grow, and the Department of Agriculture’s grant program will open the door for even more success."

You can see a map of all Pennsylvania breweries here.

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