A western Loudoun brewery has launched a new project -- and a new beer -- to support small farms that are facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery, owned by John and Bonnie Branding of Waterford, has partnered with Future Harvest, a nonprofit that supports farmers in the mid-Atlantic region through education and advocacy.
They called the project Hope Grows, named for a tree located in the middle of their grain field growing along the fence line.
As a small farm that partners with neighboring farms to use their products in the beer production, Wheatland Spring's Hope Grows was established in hopes of ensuring the viability of other small farms.
“This is a time when some of our small farms are in a particularly vulnerable position and can use a helping hand,” John Branding said.
To kick off the project, they have brewed Hope Grows, an IPA made with estate wheat. It was released this week. The beer is available for curbside pickup, delivery and shipping.
John Branding said the beer is a west coast-style, earthy beer.
Wheatland Spring is also selling T-shirts as part of the effort, and all proceeds from the shirts and four-packs of Hope Grows IPA will be used by Future Harvest to support farmers.
“This aligns with what we are trying to do here at Wheatland," John Branding said. "We are advocating for small farms, which is really important to us. These are exceptionally challenging times, and we want to keep doing what we are doing while supporting the community we want to wake up to when all of this is done. The effort we put in now is so critical to the community we are building for tomorrow."
As Wheatland's one-year anniversary approaches, John Branding said they are grateful for the support they have received since the pandemic began. He said they were planning a Land Beer Festival in early June to celebrate. Now they are trying to figure out what kind of celebration can be had safely.
Bonnie Branding said the brewery's operations quickly pivoted in March, and they started doing business through delivery and curbside pickup. They have been delivering throughout northern Virginia, including Alexandria, Arlington and Falls Church.
“It is encouraging. People have been very supportive. We are not sure what the summer holds,” Bonnie Branding said.
For more information about Hope Grows and Wheatland Spring Farm, visit wheatlandspring.com.