Unalaska could soon host the Aleutians' first craft brewery

An Unalaska resident who hopes to start a craft beer brewery next year got a big financial boost from two regional organizations April 6.

"My life is going to be really busy for a while," said Josh Good, who is looking forward to opening in next year.

The fifth-grade teacher was proclaimed the winner of the 2016 Aleutian Marketplace business plan competition, sponsored by the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association and Aleut Corp. He received $20,000 in startup funds for his Unalaska Brewing Co. business plan.

"The idea is, it's not a bar," Good said. A craft brewery operates under different rules. Customers are limited to drinking 36 ounces, or three 12-ounce drinks, on the premises. The maximum size allowed for takeout purchases is 5 gallons, sold in 1-gallon growlers. Closing time is 8 p.m., earlier than traditional bars, which stay open past midnight.

Good's plan and presentation before the judges addressed how Unalaska Brewing Co. will strengthen commerce in the region by becoming a premier beer brewer and supplier of high-quality, locally made craft beer.

Unalaska Brewing Co. will be the first and only brewery in the Aleutians and will capitalize upon the exploding national craft beer trend. With the closest local beer made in Anchorage, Kodiak or Homer, Unalaska Brewing can fill glasses and kegs close to home, which saves on shipping.

Before buying beer-making equipment, Good needs permits from federal and state agencies, and the approval of local government. He plans to brew just one kind of beer at first and expand offerings later. The product should be available in local bars, which he said also saves shipping costs for the local bars. National brands arrive as maritime cargo.

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Food will not be served in the brewery because of regulatory restrictions, but customers can bring their own snacks. Good said the brewery will need about 1,000 square feet of workspace.

"I'm so grateful to APICDA and The Aleut Corp. for providing these startup funds; I can now move forward with securing the brewery location and getting the project off the ground," said Good, who added the winnings will go toward a lease for the new business. A physical location is required by regulatory agencies, even before he brews his first beverage.

The contest received nine business plan submissions, and three finalists moved forward to the presentation round based on their scores. Other finalists' projects included Piama Oleyer's "My Aleutian Home Assisted Living" and Priscilla Miller's "Yin Yang & Aang Mobile Floating Food Truck."

Good, 29, was raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and has lived in Alaska for the past 12 years. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks and taught kindergarten for two years in Fairbanks. He has taught fifth and sixth grade in Unalaska the past six years. He wife Melissa Good works for UAF's Marine Advisory Program.

The Marketplace has been rolled out gradually the past two years to establish support and generate innovative business concepts, educate participants on running a successful business, and provide startup funds for businesses to operate in the Aleutian region. Two business idea contests preceded the business plan round of competition.

"The Marketplace is a great opportunity for TAC and APICDA to support the development of innovative businesses in the communities that we serve," said Larry Cotter, APICDA CEO. "All competition participants should be very proud of their business plans; it was evident that a great deal of thought, work and creativity went into the submissions."

Thomas Mack, president of The Aleut Corp. added, "This competition has been very educational and positive for the residents of our region. The opportunity participants had to work with the Alaska Small Business Development Center at UAA through this competition will have a lasting economic impact."

This story first appeared in The Bristol Bay Times/Dutch Harbor Fisherman and is republished here with permission.

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