Pittsburgh entities will receive a chunk of the change from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to promote and grow the state’s beer and wine industries.

The PLCB on Wednesday announced its conditional approval of $2.2 million in 22 grants that were recommended by the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry Promotion Board and the Pennsylvania Wine Marketing and Research Board, parts of the Department of Agriculture that were created in 2016. Each industry is eligible for $1 million in grants annually (and leftovers may be granted later).

Of 14 beer projects totaling $1,178,771, several are here or near here, including:

• $80,000 to Drinking Partners LLC to put on Barrel & Flow 2024, which the PLCB release describes as “a project to build sustainable, mutually beneficial partnerships and events among Pennsylvania-based beer, wine and cider makers and Black artists, performers and small business owners, which promotes, highlights and supports black talent and entrepreneurs.”

Fest founder Day Bracey tells the Union Progress, “We’re very honored and excited to continue our work with the PA Department of Agriculture to uplift Black communities, small businesses near and far to the Pittsburgh region, by building bridges of mutually beneficial relationships within the food and beverage industry. Drinking Partners, Barrel & Flow, and now Babesburgh, a celebration of women festival coming in June 2024, have the support necessary to expand programming and meet the people where they are.”

• $65,349 to Point Park University for growing its beer analysis lab to help local craft brewers as well as undergraduate students.

Gregg Johnson, Ph.D., the associate professor of electrical engineering who helped start the lab in 2023 with another PLCB grant, tells the Union Progress, “This grant will allow us to continue building up analysis capability that small breweries on tight budgets may not be able to invest in. The idea is to provide low-cost (or even no-cost) quality assurance services to the local beer makers, and at the same time provide meaningful lab experience for undergraduates looking to do some resume-building. In addition, the grant will fund two of the scholarships we love to provide for our brewing science course, which runs every summer.”

• $49,500 to the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild to create an interactive digital version of the popular printed Pittsburgh Brewery Guide and other marketing and training.

Executive Director Melissa Larrick and her predecessor Mike Tysarczyk tell the Union Progress that with the printed version of the guide being “wildly popular” (beer fans picked up more than 10,000 copies of the first three versions), it makes sense to create a digital version with new functionality, more frequent updates and potentially other tools, resources and rewards.

• $52,500 to Altoona Blair County Development Corp. to develop the Pennsylvania Greater Alleghenies Ridge and Valley Fermentation Trails to promote the breweries, wineries and distilleries of Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, Juniata, and Mifflin counties to increase tourism, vibrancy and revenue.

Other beer grants are:

• $459,450 to PA Media Group for its Penn Studios to produce a second season of “Cheers PA” content, as well as individualized commercials for 150 Pennsylvania craft breweries.

• $85,543 to Pennsylvania State University to develop low-alcohol beers with non-Saccharomyces yeast and high-glucose worts.

• $75,000 to Bucks County Conference & Visitor Bureau to build marketing for
for the 26 breweries on the Bucks County Ale Trail in 2024.

• $69,918 to Pennsylvania State University to explore novel ways for generating desirable polyfunctional thiols in beer without the traditional use of hops.

• $67,551 to Pennsylvania State University to explore how yeast can be used during dry hopping as a strategy for increasing the concentrations of desirable polyfunctional thiols in beer.

• $60,000 to Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board to create a Montco Makers Passport and campaign to drive visits to Montgomery County breweries.

$45,000 to Visit Hershey & Harrisburg to expand the marketing of the Brew Barons Beer Trail into Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

• $31,460 to Saint Francis University for an alcoholic beverage analysis lab to train students and serve local brewers.

• $27,500 to Saint Francis University to launch an online brewing micro-credential and start an online certificate program to train entry level brewhouse workers.

• $10,000 to the Lancaster County Brewers Guild to grow its Lancaster County Ale Trail and Passport.

(Pennsylvania Winery Association)

The eight approved wine projects grants, totaling $999,444, are:

• $544,489 to Pennsylvania Winery Association to continue its regional marketing strategy for Pennsylvania wines.

• $86,321 to Pennsylvania State University to study and improve measures to deter birds from eating vineyard grapes.

• $77,932 to Pennsylvania State University to study and enhance the process by which interaction with acetaldehyde softens the mouthfeel of wines.

• $77,849 to Pennsylvania State University to to develop a better understanding of grapevine nutrient concentration ranges across Pennsylvania vineyards.

• $69,558 to Pennsylvania State University to investigating novel approaches for remediating hydrogen sulfide formation (rotten egg character) in Pennsylvania wines.

• $60,246 to Pennsylvania State University to reduce the risk of spring frost damage to vineyards.

• $55,069 to Pennsylvania State University to test the effect of trichoderma to control powdery mildew and promote vine health in Pennsylvania wine grapes.

• $27,980 to East Stroudsburg University to investigate millennial and Generation Z wine drinkers to understand how Pennsylvania wineries can attract and retain those customers.

Bob, a feature writer and editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is currently on strike and serving as interim editor of the Pittsburgh Union Progress. Contact him at bbatz@unionprogress.com.

Bob Batz Jr.

Bob, a feature writer and editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is currently on strike and serving as interim editor of the Pittsburgh Union Progress. Contact him at bbatz@unionprogress.com.