RCBI begins initiative to expand use of specialty crops in state-made drinks

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HUNTINGTON, WV (WVNS) — The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University has begun an initiative to expand the use of specialty crops in craft beverage production across West Virginia.

RCBI is teaming with Eastern WV Community and Technical College in Moorefield, and both Unlimited Future and The Wild Ramp in Huntington.

The collaboration will include a series of networking events with seminars focusing on specialty crop production and their utilization in craft beverages and spirits. An extensive marketing campaign is under way to promote the growing of specialty crops and their use in beverage production.

“The number of craft beverage producers in West Virginia has nearly tripled since 2014,” said Bill Woodrum, director of entrepreneurship and agricultural programs at RCBI. “We want to help residents capitalize on this momentum and connect them to local sources for their ingredients.”

Funding for the project is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, administered by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

A virtual summit will be held Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 to share updates on the craft beverage industry across the Mountain State. Craft: A Farm to Bottle Summit will have guest speakers and conclude with a virtual Pour it Forward reception from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Register for the event at www.rcbi.org/go/craft2020.

For more information on the RCBI initiative, contact Bill Woodrum at bwoodrum@rcbi.org or (304) 781-1670.

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