Small Business as Catalyst for Rural Economic Growth


The vast majority of small rural farm breweries in the region are under five years old and they face challenges that extend beyond a competitive marketplace. According to research conducted by the Carey Institute, farm brewers indicated that other barriers to growth included lack of infrastructure, limited trained workforce and slow retail traffic.

When asked to define their primary indicators of success, the same brewers prioritized increased sales, financial stability, community revitalization, expansion of retail and production and adding employees.

The Sustainable Communities Program is delighted to announce the awarding of a grant by the United States Department of Agriculture in support of its Rural Brewery Technical Assistance Project. This USDA grant will enable the Institute to provide small rural breweries with the tools, training and support needed for them to thrive, and in turn create positive economic impact in their own rural community.

The Rural Brewery Technical Assistance Project, specifically designed to address these self-identified challenges and support sustainable growth, will provide participating business with the assistance/training they need to help expand production, improve operations, grow their sales, retain current jobs and create new ones. The Carey Institute will seek to directly engage 24 rural breweries in the technical assistance and initial launch of the network which will include remote, in-person, and one-on-one training and assistance sessions, delivered over the course of 12 months.

The project will serve New York State’s small breweries, located in towns with less than 5,000 population. This includes 70 towns and villages and more than 30 counties. Ultimately, the program curriculum and entrepreneurial network that emerges will be made available to all 75 businesses that have been identified as eligible to participate.

For more information on the Rural Brewery Technical Assistance Project contact Rebecca Platel, Sustainable Communities Program Manager at or 518-797-5100.