Behind the Bar: Farm Bureaus Recognize the Farmers Who Make Local Beer and Wine Possible

News / FBNews December 11, 2019

By Cole Staudt

Across the country, the rise of craft beers, local wineries and small distilleries has opened new opportunities for farmers. Multiple state Farm Bureau organizations have acknowledged this growth by partnering with breweries and wineries in their states to launch limited edition products to celebrate farmers and pay tribute to the hard-working farm families that made these special products possible.

Credit: Indiana Farm Bureau   

On International Beer Day (Aug. 2) the Indiana Farm Bureau and People’s Brewing Company launched 100th Harvest as Indiana Farm Bureau’s centennial craft beer. 100th Harvest is a honey wheat ale created with ingredients produced in Indiana. The honey came from RJ Honey, the malt from Sugar Creek Malt Company and the hops from Pine Hops Farm.

“100th Harvest is the perfect way for Farm Bureau to celebrate its 100th anniversary while making that important connection between farmers, Indiana agriculture and a good craft beer,” said Debra DeCourcy, chief marketing officer for the Indiana Farm Bureau.

The Colorado Farm Bureau partnered with Square Peg Brewerks, a company already known for growing its own ingredients, to launch an amber lager named Centennial Farmer. The owner of Square Peg, Derek Heersink, and Colorado Farm Bureau board member Marc Arnusch led the sourcing process and ensured all the ingredients came from Colorado. Both Arnusch and Heersink had a personal stake in the Centennial Farmer, growing some of the grains for the beer.

Centennial Farmer was launched at the 1919 ball – Colorado Farm Bureau’s centennial celebration – and their members loved it, making it a favorite at the bar. The organization plans to continue to promote their creation throughout the holiday season.

Credit: Maine Farm Bureau   

The Maine Farm Bureau launched The Maine Farmer in early October in partnership with the Orono Brewing Company to honor their state’s hard-working farmers. This IPA features 100% Maine-sourced ingredients such as grains from Buck Farms and wet hops from The Hop Yard. Using wet hops requires the beer to be brewed within 24 hours of harvest, making a speedy and efficient transition from the field to the brewery essential.

“We are very excited for the opportunity to raise funds and awareness for Maine Farm Bureau while featuring the best of what Maine agriculture has to offer in a special seasonal brew,” said Julie Ann Smith, executive director of the Maine Farm Bureau.

It’s not just beer state Farm Bureau organizations are creating, wine is also on the menu. The Montana Farm Bureau partnered with Yellowstone Cellars to launch two wines, Branding Iron Red and Windmill White.

A year and a half before starting the celebration for their centennial, Montana Farm Bureau decided to partner with Yellowstone cellars in Billings, Montana, to produce wines to commemorate the special occasion. After the names were selected, wine made and labels printed, the local county Farm Bureau held a bottling party during which members came together to bottle and label the wines.

In communities across the country, Americans are enjoying locally sourced and brewed beer, wines and spirits. These creations are the product of hours of work from farmers who proudly grow each ingredient that gives every creation a distinct smell, color and taste.

Cole Staudt is media relations specialist for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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