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Loop Brewing spurs economic development in McCook

Loop Brewing Company in McCook, Nebraska, is another craft brewery that has spurred economic development in its city.

The company was established in 2011 with 10 employees and now has 30 employees. To help get the business started, Center for Rural Affairs Rural Enterprise Assistance Project specialist Dena Beck provided one-on-one business plan coaching, and our small business lending program was able to help with a financing package to make the business a reality.

Rural communities tapped by craft breweries

Brewing beer is big business in the U.S. In 2016, this centuries-old practice generated $64 million in annual tax revenue and accounted for nearly 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Today, the beer industry employs more than 64,000 individuals nationwide.

These numbers are on the rise, especially when it comes to craft brewers. According to the Brewers Association, a craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Breweries that meet this definition have increased in number from 1,596, in 2009, to 5,234, in 2016.

Cultural connection to food has been lost

Prior to European colonization efforts, the Santee Sioux people in northeast Nebraska were a “food sovereign” nation – they existed in a closed loop system in which they provided for themselves, by their own efforts, from their own land, and without dependence on outside governments and systems. By producing and preserving their own food, the people ensured they had access to abundant sources of healthy food year round.

Small towns: Unique and exciting

Small towns can be places of art and culture showcased in unique and exciting ways. Folks assume that only cities have such opportunities, but our project shows that assumption is not correct.

We looked at community-supported art as one way to bring attention to arts and culture in the small towns of Decatur, Lyons, and Oakland. These towns then worked together to organize and lead the Byway of Art Tour held Sept. 30, showcasing these cultural gems in a thoroughly enjoyable way.

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