For the last three years, Pennsylvania has retained the title as the No. 1 state in America for the amount of beer brewed. According to a study by the Brewers Association, the Keystone State produced 3,719,475 bbls of beer in 2018 (the latest numbers), and goddamn that’s a lot of beer.
Brewing is a big part of state pride and as it happens state funding. Last week, Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) had approved $1.2 million in grants for 18 projects to promote and increase not only PA breweries but local made ingredients like malt and hops, education like the Pennsylvania Brewing Symposium and even help build an “economical and efficient hop dryer.”
One of the coolest grants is “Increasing the Participation of the Black Community in PA Craft Beer,” which is aimed at promoting the awareness, knowledge and experience of black people in craft by offering educational opportunities (workshops, site visits, training) to drinkers, hop growers and potential brewers in black communities in the greater Pittsburgh area. That $130K+ grant is going to Black Brew Culture, an online lifestyle venue (everything from clothing to events) showcasing African-American-owned breweries across the United States and educating all of us on craft with a culturally diverse bent. To the press release!
“Pennsylvania’s craft brewers are some of the most innovative, entrepreneurial people in the food and beverage industry,” said Governor Wolf. “These grants will support the innovation that has made Pennsylvania number one and will help keep us on top. By investing in the industry as a whole, increasing the quality and availability of locally-sourced ingredients, and building the consumer base, we are working to strategically sustain growth.”
Act 39 of 2016 created the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry Promotion Board and authorized the PLCB to approve up to $1 million annually for development and marketing of the Pennsylvania beer industry. The Pennsylvania Fiscal Code also allows for unallocated grant funds to be made available in subsequent years.
Since the first two rounds of beer grants awarded more than $1.5 million ($704,985 in 2017 and $816,412 in 2018) to projects, the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry Promotion Board recommended utilizing some of the unallocated grant funds from prior rounds for this current round of projects.