Mar 15, 2020
HVADC client, Arrowood Farm Brewery in Accord, Ulster County, is known for keeping it local – really local.
HVADC client, Arrowood Farm Brewery in Accord, Ulster County, is known for keeping it local – really local. Arrowood uses locally sourced water from historic limestone caves in Rosendale, New York in its craft beers. This water, they claim, has a similar composition to the famed water from the Rhine River in Germany renowned for its purity in brewing. Arrowood has seven varieties of hops growing organically on the farm; and sources the rest locally around New York. The majority of their grain is sourced from New York State and the surrounding area but they are planning to grow more of their own grains on site. Their hops and grains have received NOFA-NY organic certification. Interestingly, Arrowood Brewery even sources their yeast locally - wild yeast strains are collected around the farm and added to their beers. The farm also raises ducks, chickens, bees and pigs, as part of its ecosystem, and operations are powered entirely by their own solar panels. Arrowood operates a taproom on-site on the farm in Accord, as well as a tasting room, The Outpost, in New Paltz.
In 2018, Arrowood was awarded $360,000 through Round VIII of Regional Economic Development (REDC) funding, enabling it to embark on an expansion. Arrowood’s funding was administered by the Mid-Hudson Region REDC whose coverage is defined as Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, Rockland, Ulster and Westchester counties, through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process. All ten REDCs in the state use monies from the REDC initiative to drive local economies forward and implement strategic plans for growth. In efforts to improve the state’s economic development model, New York State created the CFA to streamline and expedite the grant application process, and it marks a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated; with intentions to ensure less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs.
The REDC grant included a new production facility which affords Arrowood the opportunity to scale its operations; creating efficiencies along the way, meeting greater demand and quality control standards, add more jobs and increase their local economic development goals. Blake Arrowood Co-founder/Managing Partner said he first became acquainted with HVADC through a local panel that the town of Rochester hosted in conjunction with the Rondout Valley Growers Association, and then began working with HVADC through its Incubator Without Walls program.
Arrowood grew up in a small town in North Carolina where his grandparents once farmed. After attending Appalachian State University in North Carolina -- majoring in Advertising and Communication -- he moved to Washington D.C. and interned for the Discovery Channel. After that he volunteered with World Teach in the Marshall Islands and spent the next few years traveling, teaching English, waiting tables and bartending. In 2013 Arrowood took an internship at the Hudson Valley Seed Library and moved to the Hudson Valley where he met Jacob Meglio, his brewing and business partner. Arrowood started the hop farm in the fall of 2013 and the following year the men co-founded Arrowood Farm Brewery, officially opening in April 2016.
Writing the CFA was not Arrowood’s first foray into grant-seeking; while teaching English in the Marshall Islands, he wrote a grant and was awarded $10,000 to fund community and school agricultural projects for his island and a neighboring island.
Arrowood Farm had one key ingredient to help create their award-worthy REDC grant; working with HVADC consultant, Brian Zweig, founder and principal of founder of Business Opportunities Management Consulting in Rensselaer County. “[Zweig] brought expertise and knowledge all along the way — helping us to focus and leading us in the right direction for the greatest chances of success,” said Arrowood.
Arrowood brought his business plan to the table with Zweig and learned that the funding from the CFA process would meet the needs of the business, as they already had lined up sources for much of the funding needed and only needed 20% of project costs to be funded. Together, they identified and applied for applicable CFA funding programs, which also included Market NY grant funds, which Zweig said included answering the questions required by the grant application, developing necessary support materials, including project budget, project plan and letters of support. Lastly, they included an economic impact estimate to show that the project would have a significant benefit to the region, if funded.
Arrowood explained their top challenge was side-lining their business and logistics to focus on the grant. “It’s no small task — these grants are intensive — you have to dig in and truly have a sense of who you are, what you’re doing, what you offer, and how that all comes together to impact your local economy and community,” he said. “That takes me a lot of time and energy that has to come from somewhere. We really believed it was all worth it for the greater good — we knew the grant was something to strive for, so we made that commitment upfront to see it through to the fullest of our ability.”
Zweig is no amateur to the CFA application process, having worked on 19 successful CFA submissions. Of those, he said, 11 have been through HVADC or with HVADC clients. “Arrowood’s application stood out because they had built a strong following for their beer based on the quality of their product and by focusing on using local ingredients. In addition, the project was a great fit for CFA funding, because they had lined up 80% of project funds and needed the state for the remaining 20%.”
Zweig suggested that the most important thing with any grant application -- and with CFA submissions in particular -- is to have a good fit between what the grant will fund and the funding needs of the project. He emphasized the importance of having the plans in place and a project that is far enough along to be credible with the granting agency. “If the applicant doesn’t know what they want to do or if the project is not sufficiently advanced, there will be doubts about whether the project is realistic and whether it will actually be completed successfully if funded,” he said.
Arrowood is targeting to complete the expansion in 2020. They are also adding an on-site distillery operation. “[We will be] continuing to cultivate our land for hops, fruits and botanicals; all ingredients we bring back in house to brew and distill with.” He added they are planning to expand the kitchen to produce simple, clean and “super fresh” food. “Expanding our distribution footprint beyond our backyard - up and down the east coast, expanding our partnerships with our neighboring farmers to produce local grains that we brew with and expanding our music partnerships to bring in more world-class talent. All in, the next five years is about honing our skills and operation to produce better beer that truly represents our time and place while growing our space to offer everyone who comes to our farm a true 360 degree experience from the soil to the glass — from the farm to the brewery.”
“My advice to others is that they first decide on the project that they would like to implement for their business and make sure that their project is realistic and makes good business sense,” said Zweig. “Then review the various funding opportunities from the state to see if there are some that might be appropriate for the project. If so, businesses can contact HVADC to explore further possibilities.”
For more information about HVADC’s Incubator Without Walls program, please visit https://www.hvadc.org/incubator-without-walls. Photo Source: Arrowood Farm Brewery
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