Rapid growth can be a challenge, albeit the challenge any business longs to have. Farmers Brewing had this challenge, experiencing exponential growth since its official launch in 2017 through word of mouth and grassroots marketing. With demand quickly outpacing supply, owners Bill and Kristin Weller built a 25,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, 50-barrel brewery, all while continuing to brew small batches of value-added beer and gaining limited, but wider distribution. The on-farm brewery, fully-permitted and approved for beer production, kegged its first batch of beer in early 2020. With sufficient production and organizational capacity, Farmers Brewing needed additional marketing and distribution support to keep up with all this incredible progress.
To capitalize on increasing demand for Farmers Brewing’s beers, Morrison strategized with Farmers Brewing suggesting they apply for the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG), helping agricultural producers launch or expand value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products. Generating new products or new markets, creating, and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the goals of this program. Morrison was able to provide critical grant writing expertise to develop a project, in close collaboration with Farmers Brewing, which both fit Farmers Brewing’s organizational goals and ambitions, as well as aligned with the purpose of the grant program. As a first time applicant, Farmers Brewing was also able to apply for priority points to further strengthen their application. Together, Morrison and Farmers Brewing applied for a VAPG Working Capital Project in order to grow marketing opportunities for two specific Farmers Brewing’s beers to new buyers through increased marketing and distribution support.
Farmers Brewing was successfully awarded $250,000 in federal funding for their VAPG proposal. This funding helped to support the launch of Farmers Brewing’s most popular beers Farmers Light and 530, gaining distribution into new Northern California restaurants and bars, as well as grocery stores. Grant funds were also used to support additional marketing activities for these beers in Northern California, as well.
About the client
Farmers Brewing Company, also known as Farmers Brewing, is owned by fifth-generation farmers Bill and Kristin Weller. They brew craft beers from local ingredients grown on their family farm, which is located in rural Princeton, California. Their mission is to create beer that is light, clean, and easy to drink. Beer brands include “Farmers Light” a premium light lager that has only 99 calories, an unfiltered wheat “530,” and a Mexican Lager called “Valle,” among others.