Harrisburg, PA – To further support a rapidly growing industry in the commonwealth, Governor Tom Wolf today announced the launch of the PA Preferred™ Brews initiative, a branding program dedicated specifically for beers brewed in Pennsylvania using agricultural commodities grown in the state.
The new program, which builds on the existing PA Preferred™ program under the state Department of Agriculture, marks another step by the Wolf administration to support the state’s beer industry after the Governor signed legislation in 2016 to modernize beer sales and improve customer convenience.
“Brewing beer is a $5.8 billion industry in Pennsylvania, and it’s an industry that is growing rapidly,” said Governor Wolf. “Recognizing the tremendous opportunities that exist in this industry to create jobs from the farm all the way to the brewery, pub or grocery store, we’ve worked on a bipartisan basis to modernize our beer laws and provide new support for this industry that is helping to open up doors to rapid expansion.”
The Brewers Association reports that Pennsylvania ranks first in the nation for barrels of craft beer produced, at 3.9 million barrels per year.
According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, there are more than 300 licensed breweries in the state, with another 40 establishments awaiting a license. A 2011 report from the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) reported only about 100 breweries licensed in the state, so there has been a 300 percent increase in the last six years, alone.
The LFBC report found at the time that the industry had a $1.1 billion impact on the state’s economy when accounting for just the beer produced and sold in Pennsylvania. The industry also helped to support more than 60,000 direct and indirect jobs paying more than $2.2 billion in wages and benefits.
“This new branding program is another way my administration is working to promote the state’s brewers and the quality products they’re putting out into an increasingly competitive marketplace,” added Governor Wolf. “The new PA Preferred Brews brand is one way breweries based in Pennsylvania can differentiate themselves and draw the attention of consumers who are interested in buying local.”
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary for Market Development Cheryl L. Cook joined brewers, restauranteurs and farmers today at the Millworks in Harrisburg to launch the new branding program. She also recognized the Millworks’ PA Pale as the state’s first PA Preferred™ Brew.
“Harrisburg’s Historic Market District is a fitting venue to celebrate new opportunities for farmers and craftsmen to transform locally grown hops and grains into a uniquely Pennsylvania product,” said Cook. “The Millworks restaurant and brewery will join more than 2,000 Pennsylvania producers, processors and retailers who have taken advantage of the marketing benefits created by participating in the official PA Preferred program. Like other PA Preferred producers, the Millworks Brewery will be licensed to use the trademarked PA Preferred logo to help market their PA Pale.”
While the Millworks’ PA Pale is the first official PA Preferred Brew, Cook noted that the PA Preferred member roster includes 20 breweries and six businesses that grow hops.
“We believe that Harrisburg’s Midtown Market District will once again be the centerpiece of Pennsylvania agriculture and food,” said Jeff Musselman, Millworks’ brewmaster. “With our focus on farm-to-table cuisine and beer, our partnership with local farmers and other Pennsylvania food artisans and artists, we are deeply committed to making that happen.”
PA Preferred™ Brew is an extension of the PA Preferred™ program introduced in January 2004. The program’s members are licensed to use the program’s registered logo: a blue keystone with a gold checkmark. Products bearing the logo have been grown, harvested and/or processed in Pennsylvania. Research has shown that 93 percent of Pennsylvanians prefer to buy and consume local products.
Cook encouraged other eligible PA craft brewers to apply for approval to use the PA Preferred trademarked logo for beers that are: 1) brewed in Pennsylvania; 2) brewed in compliance with all applicable state and federal quality, sanitation, safety and labeling standards; and 3) produced from Pennsylvania agricultural commodities (hops, grain, etc.) to the extent these are available given market availability and production season restrictions. The logo and the title should only be used on products that currently contain Pennsylvania-grown hops and/or malt.
Learn more about PA Preferred™ and the department’s work to support the agriculture industry at agriculture.pa.gov.