How This Brewery is Creating a Hyperlocal Value Chain

Farm-to-table cooking is touted in many areas when it comes to food. Food21 is trying to encourage this through brewing. The Pennsylvania-based organization recently brought its mission to expand the breadth and depth of the regional food and agricultural economy through market-driven solutions and strategies.

All Saints Brewing Company in Greensburg, Pennsylvania was able to tap Old Hanna’s Town Ale, the Pittsburgh area’s first craft beer entirely produced through local partnerships.

“It’s just exciting that the substance of the beer was grown right next door,” said All Saints owner Jeff Guidos. “No farms, no beer. Supporting local is always important.

“Sure, Amazon can get you anything, but when you really need something right now, it’s nice to have a place to go get it when you need it.”

The Farm to Tap initiative was launched in Westmoreland County in 2020 to demonstrate the power of connecting local farms’ productive capacity to one of the fastest-growing industries in its region – craft brewing. 

“This is mutually beneficial to all links in the regional craft beer food chain,” said Food21 President Joe Bute. “Significantly, when Food21 commits to a $3,000 investment in seed excluding our indirect costs, we deliver to the state’s economy over $20 million in direct revenue benefit.”

Guidos said when he started brewing professionally 23 years ago American malt was looked down upon and disregarded. Instead, he has opted to work with distributors to bring in higher quality. But that has changed and he told Brewer he is impressed with the quality, along with getting to drive by and see the grain being grown and working with CNC Malting to use the base malt for the Amber Ale.

“What sticks out most to me as new information is the quality of this malt, grown right next door, and malted just north of here,” Guidos said. “I’m truly impressed.”

He added that extracting from the grist was better than anticipated.

“Pretty much the same as the German 2 row I’ve been using forever,” he said. “The malt is a little more pricey, but not outrageous, and I did not purchase very much. There could be an opportunity for all these breweries popping up to purchase together, or guarantee to purchase a quantity sufficient to generate a bit of a price break for each.”

Vince Mangini of Food21 shares on the barley crop

Vince Mangini, Food21 coordinator for value chain initiatives and team leader of Farm to Tap, explains what the pilot program accomplished. “With a team of experts – from agronomy and agriculture to malting and marketing to the vibrant craft brewing community – this project is demonstrating what others have talked about but have not done. We leveraged our region’s assets – human and economic – in sustainable ways. This demonstrates the power of the Farm to Tap concept.”

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