The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) presented Brew Export of Comstock Park, Michigan, with the 2018 “Rising Star Award.”
The award, presented by MDARD Director Gordon Wenk July 26, was created to recognize a Michigan company that is new to exporting or is increasing its exports into one or more countries.
“When you hear the phrase ‘rising star,’ it’s really hard not to think of Brew Export,” said Wenk. “Shannon’s energy and the imprint that Brew Export is making on the Michigan craft beer industry is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. And the success that they have enjoyed in just a few short years is remarkable. We feel honored to recognize Brew Export in this way.”
Brew Export was established in 2015 with the mission of connecting people around the globe through beer. Starting in 2016, the company began its export journey.
“Brew Export’s vision has gone beyond just selling beer,” said Brew Export’s founder Shannon Long. “I hope our export success serves as a reminder to agricultural companies, both small and large, that thousands of interested buyers lay beyond the United States’ borders.”
Brew Export has helped Michigan craft beer enter markets in China, Spain, Belgium, Malaysia, Canada, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Russia. And MDARD’s International Marketing staff have supported Long throughout the company’s short but successful history.
“I absolutely love the International Marketing Program at [MDARD],” said Long, in this recent video. “They have made exporting so much easier on me. They’re there to answer so many questions, to connect you with buyers, to provide you with data that’s probably worth thousands of dollars…. When I have questions that are timely, I know that I can always rely on them with a quick answer. If they don’t know the answer, they know someone who does.
“I cannot express enough my gratitude toward MDARD and the International Marketing Program for recognizing Brew Export’s commitment to the international market with the Rising Star Award,” she said.
Craft beer growth can often become restrained in original markets such as the United States, which allows for huge growth potential in other markets, as seen with Brew Export.
To date, Brew Export has shared with the international market tens of thousands of beers manufactured by a dozen Michigan breweries such as Dark Horse Brewing Co., Odd Side Ales, and Latitude 42 Brewing Company. Their focus on Michigan and exports has paid off as Long, “cannot express enough my gratitude toward MDARD and the International Marketing Program for recognizing Brew Export’s commitment to the international market with the Rising Star Award.”
The award review committee consisted of representatives from Michigan State University; Michigan Farm Bureau; Comerica Bank; Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith P.C.; and the Van Andel Global Trade Center.
In 2017, the “Rising Star Award” was awarded to the Gluten Free Bar, which is dedicated to creating a great tasting, gluten-free snack bar and created new jobs due to exporting.
To be eligible for the award, the products must be more than 50 percent grown, processed, or manufactured in Michigan.
For more information and an application, visit https://www.michigan.gov/agexport or contact Jamie Zmitko-Somers at [email protected] or 517-284-5738.
In related news, MDARD announced that Wenk will lead the next trade mission to Beijing and Guangzhou, China, September 17-21.
This mission will allow Michigan food and agricultural companies to be immersed into the local food industry, while connecting with qualified Chinese buyers. The mission will include one-on-one meetings, retail tours, and briefings with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials within the country.
“I’m very excited to make my first trip to China and lead a trade mission to an ever-expanding export market,” said Wenk, who was named MDARD director in February. “China’s middle class continues to demand high quality food products from the U.S., which provides great potential for Michigan food and agriculture companies.”
In 2017, Michigan food and agriculture exports to China totaled more than $67 million.