6 Acres Farm Brewery was number one. The winners of the 2021 Next Great Idea Oswego County Business Plan Competition, Jenna Behling and Denyel Busch, received $50,000. They said they were thrilled and excited to win the competition. All three of the finalists could have won the event, they noted.
“It feels amazing. We’re really thankful for the experience this has been for us; forced us to draw up a nice business plan and presenting our ideas,” Busch said. “It really solidified what we wanted as a business, and to expand on what we have already done.”
The event was held at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center in Oswego.
“To be safe, we tell the winners they need to consult their accountants regarding the prizes,” said Austin Wheelock, chair of the NGI steering committee. “In some cases they may be required to pay taxes; but it depends how the funding is used, how they are incorporated, if they can show losses to offset, etc.”
“We’re really excited to have won this,” Behling said. “We have plans set forth for building a tasting room; just have to find the best location.”
Moving forward they are looking to build the tasting room with a big open area for a bar, space for a small restaurant, events such as birthday parties, graduations and more.
“Hopefully we can build our on-site tasting room in Mexico or New Haven,” Busch said. “We want to break ground on that as soon as possible. Hopefully we’ll find a location and start building right away. The building will be about 3,000 square foot.”
They already supply Leon’s Farmers’ Market in New Haven and others as well.
“We’re really excited to ramp up our production and have a larger brewing system,” Behling said. “We’re looking to include a small restaurant in the tasting room as well. We were established in 2019, but we’ve been home-brewing and really trying to hone in on our recipes for the last four years.”
One of their more popular beverages was “kind of a surprise,” she said.
“It’s shortcake ale and it’s called ‘at the berry patch.’ It was a big surprise. We also have ‘ray of sunshine,’ which is our blonde ale. It is really popular as well,” she said.
They hope to start building in the early spring.
“We’d like it on apple orchard property, just for that beautiful view,” Behling said.
The other finalists were North 40 Clover ($25,000 winner) and Moth & Flame Base Camp ($15,000 winner).
Wheelock said, “This year’s finalists worked extremely hard to position themselves to win a share of prize money and business services totaling $90,000 to be used towards developing their business ventures here in Oswego County.”
In addition, the cash prizes can potentially be leveraged to borrow up to 10 times their value in partnership with local banks, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency, the cities of Oswego and Fulton community development offices, the U.S. Small Business Administration, New York Business Development Corporation and other economic development agencies.