A Reflection of Economic Stimulus of Northeastern Wineries

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Blog 31

As attendees head to the Eastern Winery Exposition in Lancaster, Pennsylvania next week, we want to say thank you to all the winery owners in states represented by industry organizations supporting the show! As the show’s website indicates, this is an Eastern-focused wine industry trade show and conference. This new show is growing as fast as the wineries in the states it represents:

With nearly $40 million per year and over 100 jobs directly contributed to the economy, Connecticut wine industry is growing faster than the nationwide average.  The Connecticut wine trail,  will take you on a tour of 25 of the more than 30 wineries currently calling Connecticut home.

Having almost 50 wineries contributing nearly $40 million per year to the Garden State, growth of wineries in New Jersey is dramatic.  The number of acres dedicated to grapes has increased by 200% over the last ten years.  The Garden State Wine Growers Association organizes multiple festivals throughout the year that will allow any consumer to take advantage of opportunities to explore the State’s wineries.

Double digit average annual growth in wine gallons produced over the last decade – that’s the reality in Maryland. The Maryland Wineries Association has a wonderful website, Maryland Wine, that aptly explains who benefits from putting wine in a bottle.  That list includes manufacturers, nurseries, banks, real estate brokers, shippers, among other businesses.  What a wonderful viewpoint, of course there would be no wine without grape growers.

In 2011 Massachusetts allowed sales of wines at farmers markets and agricultural events.  The very next year wine sales in Massachusetts increased by 66%!  With over 40 licensed wineries you can experience many of them, along with some great food by exploring the Massachusetts Wine and Cheese Trail!

The wine industry contributes $300 million to Michigan’s economy as reported by The Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council. Wow! Michigan is the nation’s fourth largest producer of grapes with over 15,000 acres of vineyards.  Remarkably, this number has doubled in the last 10 years!  We can’t imagine that this number will go anywhere but up and that’s good for Michigan and the wine industry.

One of the best examples of the economic impact of wineries on a local region is exhibited in New Hampshire.  Winery owner Amy LaBelle, owner of LaBelle winery in Amherst, New Hampshire was the named the 2013 woman owned business of the year for both the State of New Hampshire and the region by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The winery employs over 45 people and recently invested in excess of $5 million in the construction of a new winery.  For more information on New Hampshire wineries, check out the New Hampshire Winery Association.

Home of the Eastern Winery Exposition, Pennsylvania continues to see growth in the industry.  Over 150 wineries, creating in excess of 10,000 jobs, and drawing nearly a million visitors to the State, defines the current status of the industry in the Keystone state. The Pennsylvania Winery Association expresses it succinctly with their motto: “Keep Tasting.”  And with this much activity, you better take that advise and start soon!

You will drive to every corner of the state to check out all the wineries in Ohio.  So, start with the assistance of The Ohio Wine Producers Association. With a history back to the 1850’s, Ohio wineries currently stand at over 160 and yield millions of gallons of wine a year.

Let’s applaud the work of all the producers and their industry supporters as they travel to the Eastern Winery Exposition!

We're Here to Help

Dear friends in the alcoholic beverage industry,

As we as an industry, nation and planet collectively try to navigate this unprecedented period the coronavirus has brought us, We’d like you to know that we at Craft Beverage Consultants (the other CBC!) are here to answer any question you may have (or not know you have) about not just surviving this time but positioning yourself to thrive as soon as social distancing measures allow your business to function at full capacity again.

If you schedule a free 60-minute phone or video conferencing consultation with me or any of my 11 highly specialized colleagues, we’ll help you figure out any of your immediate and/or longterm business needs, or “everything but the staffing,” as we like to say. We’re not high-pressure sales kind of people, especially these days, so you don’t have to worry about fending off annoying pitches. Make an appointment on our website or Facebook page, or just call us the old-fashioned way at 314-768-0220.

Our experts have a combined 150 years in the alcoholic beverage industry, with deep knowledge in everything from sales and distribution, production, and regulatory compliance to marketing, package design, event planning, IT, (social) media, hospitality, and even values-based executive coaching. 

For example, we can coach you through this season when chain accounts have canceled their spring, in some cases, fall resets and distributors have drastically cut orders. Our director of business strategy and compliance can save you money – now – on excise taxes, caution you to avoid naming your beers in ways that risk alienating your buyers (Wuhan Wheat? Coronavirus Cream Ale? Groan. No.), and secure TTB approval for the tastefully named beers you do make. Our creative director and web team can get your e-commerce site up and running and launch a social media campaign that keeps you top of mind for current and future customers. Our director of storytelling can put you in front of the press so you can tell your story to your community. 

Once you’re ready, we can look forward together. Now is the time to talk about post-virus. We all suspect the legal landscape to look different. But how? And how do you prepare yourself in a way that positions you to charge out of the gate ready to maximize the potential and profit of whatever the “new normal” turns out to be? Please get in touch so we can talk about it. 

CBC’s roster includes local and regional clients like Epic Brewing, Logboat Brewing, Piney River Brewing, SudWerk Brewing, Waves Cider and Common Cider Company, just to name a few.  The agency was founded in 2004 by Jacob and Beth Halls, formerly known as Convergence Consulting; Rick Laxague, joined as a partner in charge of sales, marketing and distribution consulting in 2019. 

Rick hase close to 20 years of experience, a bulk of which was with Crescent Crown Distributing in Arizona. His last role there was Area Sales Manager for the dedicated craft beer division, coaching and leading a sales team to be nationally recognized. In early 2014 Rick helped take a regional brewery national as their Director of National Accounts and increase that segment of their business from 30,000 cases to almost 300,000 cases in two years, an increase that equates to $4.8 million in IRI dollar sales. 

Co-founder Jacob Halls brings 17 years of experience in regulatory compliance, business strategy, marketing and craft brand management to the company. In his former position as craft brand manager for the N.H. Scheppers Distributing Company in Columbia, Missouri, Jacob helped lead his team to winning the 2016 Distributor of the Year award from New Belgium and to a nomination for the Brewers Association’s Distributor of the Year award. Jacob is also the founder and director of the South East Craft Beer Fest and several other industry specific charitable event marketing festivities. Beth Halls is Director of Business Operations and Coordinator of Charity Operations for the festivals and events run by CBC, such as the South East Craft Beer Fest, MO Bacon & Bourbon, and many more. 

Again, please reach out to us for anything.  CBC can be reached at (314) 768-0220 or at

We look forward to meeting/talking soon.


Rick Laxague, Jacob Halls, and Beth Halls