The Carey Institute’s Sustainable Communities Program Receives USDA Grant for Rural Brewery Technical Assistance Project


Program Aims to Improve Rural Business Sustainability and Drive Economic Growth

Rensselaerville, NY – The Carey Institute’s Sustainable Communities Program has been granted $62,080 from the United States Department of Agriculture to offer technical assistance to breweries and other craft beverage producers located in rural communities across New York State. The project provides participating businesses with assistance and training to help expand production, improve operations, grow their sales, retain current jobs and create new employment opportunities.

Most rural breweries are less than five years old and face challenges that extend beyond a competitive marketplace. According to a survey conducted by the Carey Institute, rural brewers identified lack of infrastructure, trained workforce scarcity and slow retail traffic as barriers to growth. 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 Rural Brewery Technical Assistance Project is specifically designed to address these self-identified challenges and support sustainable growth.

“The New York State Brewer Association is extremely fortunate to have the Carey Institute’s expertise that directly assist the brewers of New York State in so many important ways. With the explosive growth of breweries in New York, the Rural Brewery Technical Assistance Project will provide much needed advice and assistance to small breweries that don’t have the critical resources needed to ensure success and longevity in this highly competitive market,” says Paul Leone, Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association.“Breweries are job creators and provide an important economic impact, especially in small towns and communities, this assistance is critical to their success.” 

“Families and communities throughout the Capital Region rely on our local businesses to support good jobs and drive sustainable economic growth,” Congressman Paul Tonko said. “This well-deserved USDA grant will deliver critical technical assistance that will help many of these local businesses grow and thrive. The Carey Institute’s successes in bringing focused support for businesses in our rural communities have an even bigger impact as these areas face unique challenges when it comes to sustainable development. Congratulations and thank you to the Carey Institute for bringing much needed recognition and support to our rural business community.” 

The project will target small breweries located in towns with a population of less than 5,000. This scope includes more than 75 licensed farm breweries, as well as 21 licensed microbreweries, in 70 towns and villages across New York State. The Carey Institute will provide at least 24 businesses with technical assistance over the course of 12 months, including remote, in-person and one-on-one assistance. Further, the curriculum and a professional network will be made available to all interested rural craft beverage producers.

“As the owner of a small farm brewery located in a very rural area, I was thrilled to hear that the Carey Institute received this funding. Our business is currently in a phase of growth as we come upon our third year in business and are opening a second location in the near future. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the Carey Institute to obtain technical assistance toward sustainable growth,” adds Heather Grant of Dublin Corners Farm.

If you believe your business may qualify for technical assistance and would like to apply, please contact Rebecca Platel, Sustainable Communities Program manager, at or call (518) 797-5100.

The Sustainable Communities Program works to advance the role of rural communities in sustainable and equitable development. Through our pilot project, Helderberg Brewery, we work to make the craft beverage sector more sustainable and beneficial for rural communities across New York State.

The Carey Institute for Global Good is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2012 by Wm. Polk Carey and is dedicated to building a strong, educated and just society. We provide education, tools and resources to practitioners of the global good to help them succeed. We put practitioners first—teachers, journalists, farmers—because we know that they have the power to change their communities and inspire others to do the same.