Gov't Pours Out $3.5M to Back Booze

Eric Scheiner | September 11, 2014 | 12:07pm EDT
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Wine (AP Photo)

( - The United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA) has released its list of “Value-Added Producer Grants” (VAPG) for 2014 and $3,550,546 went to businesses involved with alcohol.

“The primary objective of the VAPG program is to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the end goals of this program,” the USDA website says.

$2,756,777 of the grant money went to assisting the production or marketing of wine and wine-related products.

“Rural Development funds will be used to assist in the processing and marketing of a new sparkling wine product,” according to the description of a $200,000 grant awarded to Chestatee Valley Vinters of Georgia.

A $175,000 grant was given to Black Willow Winery of New York to “pay for costs associated with the production and marketing of an estate peach wine made from peaches grown on the family farm.”

Beer, mead and hard cider efforts were also the recipient of government funds. Those receiving government funds according to the USDA:

Empire Farmstead Brewery, Inc. of New York received $200,000 to assist with “expense related to brewing, marketing, and bottling of the grantee’s new line of craft beer containing ingredients grown from their farm.”

Blue Bee Cider, LLC of Virginia received $75,000 to “be used for planning to research the addition of super-premium hard cider products to their current product mix”.

Double Spirals on Tap, LLC of Hawaii was given $22,322 to “conduct a feasibility study and business plan for a tropical fruit grower to produce mead.”

The USDA says over $25 million is awarded through the VAPG program.

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