Chicago’s Funkytown Brewery is the new champion of Samuel Adams’ 12th annual Brewer Experienceship craft brewers competition.
The competition is part of the beer maker’s Brewing the American Dream philanthropic program, which focuses on providing mentorship as well as access to capital to entrepreneurs in the U.S. food and beverage industry.
Funkytown Brewery, founded by childhood friends Rich Bloomfield, Zack Day and Greg Williams, will now join a growing list of craft brewers that get the chance to take advantage of these benefits and receive support from the Boston Beer Co.’s Samuel Adams brand and its founder Jim Koch.
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For Bloomfield, Day and Williams, winning the title will help them overcome hurdles faced by Black-owned brands and small craft brewers in the industry.
“Black brands usually have a hard time getting exposure due to a lack of capital and networks,” Bloomfield told FOX Business.
Small brands in the craft beer industry also “have a hard time getting exposure due to the high operations and equipment costs which doesn’t leave many funds to execute their marketing plan,” Bloomfield added.
Those are two realities Bloomfield, Day and Williams are all too familiar with. The win, however, changes things by effectively boosting the brand’s exposure within the highly saturated market.
“Winning the Samuel Adams Brewing & Business Experienceship generates awareness with retailers who may have not heard of Funkytown through their regular channels of influence,” Bloomfield said.
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Next, Funkytown Brewery will join Samuel Adams in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival. The trio will also head to Samuel Adams’ brewery in Boston to work with a team of mentors and collaborate on a specialty beer. The beer will be sold at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery taproom as well as Funkytown’s taproom.
“Sharing the shelf space at established retailers with other well-known brands lets people know that this isn’t some second-rate, fly-by-night type of company, but rather a business that values community, quality, integrity and has earned placement in the best locations due to their vision and perseverance,” Bloomfield said.
Although Funkytown has been around since 2021, Bloomfield said “directly with Sam Adams provides validation, exposure, and mentorship that will help us successfully transition Funkytown to the next level.”
Since 2008, the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program has worked together with Accion Opportunity Fund and other nonprofits in loaning more than $99 million to more than 4,100 small business owners in the food and beverage industry.
The program – with support from local business partners and community organizations – has also provided coaching and mentoring to more than 14,000 business owners across the country, helping to create or maintain more than 9,000 local jobs.
“It’s a program near and dear to us as it recognizes brewers that showcase the same passion for craft beer that first ignited the craft beer revolution almost 40 years ago,” Jennifer Glanville Love,the director of partnerships and collaborations at Boston Beer Co., told FOX Business.
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