The Brewers Association (BA) has secured a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of the new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP), which is focused on opening and developing new export markets. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA is allocating $300 million overall to 66 U.S. organizations to help boost demand for American food and farm exports in high-potential markets globally — that includes craft beer — which is cool. From the press release:

“USDA and the entire Biden-Harris Administration are focused on creating more, new and better markets for U.S. producers and agribusinesses, and exports are a critical part of that effort,” Vilsack said. “By enabling U.S. exporters to expand their footprint in diverse and dynamic new markets, RAPP will help make them more competitive and resilient in an increasingly volatile global trading environment. We know the potential is out there, but it takes time and money to grow new markets. USDA is pleased to be able to provide the start-up capital to help tap into these opportunities, because if we are serious about reversing the decline of small and mid-sized farms, and building wealth that stays in rural communities, it’s crucial that we create and sustain diverse market opportunities abroad as well as at home.”

Secretary Vilsack launched RAPP in October 2023, authorizing $1.2 billion in Commodity Credit Corporation funding to help U.S. exporters expand their customer base beyond traditional and established markets, focusing on regions such as Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and South and Southeast Asia, where consumer demand and purchasing power are growing.

How will this new $2 million grant get invested? We reached out to the Brewers Association to see how this money would be used. From Steve Parr, director of international relations at the BA:

“The Brewers Association commends the USDA and congressional leaders for their enhanced support of export promotion for U.S. products, including American craft beer. Since 2004, the BA’s Export Development Program has been dedicated to promoting exports, helping U.S. breweries explore international opportunities, and supporting marketing efforts that highlight the quality of U.S. craft beer. Funding from the new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program will enable the BA EDP to pursue new markets for export expansion while supporting proven growth initiatives in many core target markets.  Funding will be put towards education, market research, advertising, and showcasing U.S. beers and their brewers at key international trade shows, festivals, and competitions in select markets in Europe, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific.”

The USDA sees the potential for craft beer in foreign markets, and so do indie brewers and the BA. Here’s an example: Colorado’s Bootstrap Brewing recently announced that it has begun exporting beer to Europe. The company joined the Brewers Association’s Export Development Program earlier this year and attended its first Import Festival in February at the Beer + Food Attraction in Rimini Italy. At the show, owners Steve and Leslie Kaczeus were able to meet with importers and distributors to sample beer which directly resulted in partnerships formed with Beer Republic, a BrouwUnie Co., based in the Netherlands and Great Brands of Sweden. Bootstrap Brewing recently shipped its first pallet of award-winning beers to Beer Republic, and they will begin hitting stores, bars and restaurants in the Netherlands and other European countries very soon.

Since the Export Development Program’s inception in 2004, American craft beer exports have increased 1,400 percent, with a 2020 value estimated at $66 million, according to the BA. According to the USDA, total U.S. beer exports in 2023 were valued at $382.05 million. Where do these beers go? You might be surprised to discover popular American beer export destinations included places like Honduras and South Korea.

From Outer Range Brewing opening its second location in the French Alps to the 40 American craft breweries that participated in the seventh edition of the American Craft Beer Experience Festival in Tokyo, Japan, beer makers see interesting opportunities abroad. The $2 million grant from the USDA presents a significant opportunity for the BA to tap into the burgeoning craft beer markets overseas. With growing interest in American craft beer abroad, the Brewers Association’s efforts to participate in tradeshows and festivals, facilitate foreign partnerships and to bring international buyers to the United States are poised to create substantial inroads. This strategic expansion not only broadens the consumer base for U.S. craft beer but also fosters a global appreciation for American brewing ingenuity.

Contact the BA for more info!



are you a developer?

  • Proven International Track Record
  • Vertically Integrated Federal Funds
  • Vertically Integrated Tax Credits
  • Vertically Integrated Investors
  • Vertically Integrated Lenders
  • Vertically Integrated Contractors