The Victorian Government has allocated the latest round of funding from its Small-Scale and Craft Program intended to support the business development of small-scale and craft producers.
The $10.2 million program has already distributed $4.3 million to small scale and craft producers in regional Victoria.
AC Hops in Dean was one such recipient of the most recent round of funding and will use the cash injection to expand its hop yard, increase production and offer a wider product range, thanks to specialised equipment including a hot pelletiser and cool room.
Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas visited AC Hops and said:
“We’re helping producers like AC Hops to grow their business to meet the interest from people who want to know more about where their produce comes from and want to support local makers.
“This new stream of funding will make sure even more Victorian producers can grow their business, welcome more visitors and boost local economies.”
Having farmed in the district of Dean for more than 150 years, AC Hops is passionate about supporting local craft brewers and educating the community about the hop-growing journey. AC Hops owner Alistair Tippett said:
“The funding has supported us in fast tracking our plans to give craft breweries access to local farmgate hops to ‘add a little story to their brew’ and greatly assisted us in purchasing the specialised equipment needed to produce the best quality hops.”
Eligible small-scale and craft agribusinesses can apply for grants of up to $15,000 to modernise their equipment or adopt new technologies, diversify their product range, access new markets, or develop specialised skills.
Alongside AC Hops, several other small-scale and craft producers across Victoria have received grants through the program – including cultured butter manufacturers, gourmet vegetable growers, gin distillers and smoked meat producers.
The Government is helping small businesses in agriculture grow as a key pillar in the Agriculture Strategy, boosting visitation to regional towns, creating jobs and encouraging more Victorians to buy local.
Applications close on Friday, 26 March. More information is available here.