Statewide craft beverage summit on tap for Jan. 27

To support the growing craft beverage industry in the Mountain State and encourage further expansion, the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University, Brilliant Stream and the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition will sponsor another statewide virtual gathering Jan. 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Craft: A Farm to Bottle Summit will provide a roadmap for getting into this specialized market either as a bottler, farmer, wholesaler or retailer, said Evan Nelson, manager of Agricultural Innovations at RCBI. The event also will explore ways to expand existing operations through collaborative marketing approaches.

“While this event will include a special focus on the cider industry, it nonetheless is a great opportunity for anyone interested in becoming part of the craft movement and for existing operators to learn about opportunities to grow their businesses,” Nelson said.

Brooke Glover, CEO and co-founder of Swilled Dog Hard Cider and Spirits in Upper Tract, Pendleton County, will be the featured speaker. The successful entrepreneur will recount the evolution of her business, share best practices, talk about sourcing produce for beverage operations, and explain how the burgeoning industry can enhance the tourism landscape.

Other presenters will include West Virginia University Extension Service’s Lisa Jones, program coordinator of the Small Farm Center; Dr. Doolarie Singh-Knights, associate professor – Agribusiness Economics and Management in WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design; and Jesse Richardson, lead land use attorney for the West Virginia College of Law. They will provide an overview of the industry in West Virginia, explain how to implement a holistic planning approach to the craft industry – including financial, promotional and legal considerations, and discuss the economic feasibility of becoming part of the craft beverage supply chain.

The online event will conclude with a Pour It Forward happy hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Participants are encouraged to grab a glass of their favorite West Virginia craft beverage for an informal networking session with other like-minded people, Nelson said.

To register for the free event, visit www.mfg.marshall.edu/craft2022.

Craft is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. For more information about Craft or any of RCBI’s agricultural initiatives, contact Nelson at or 304.781.1657.

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