(July 21, 2022) – Yurok Tribe owned Mad River Brewery, and Grey Snow Management Solutions, an Iowa Tribe of Kansas City and Nebraska company, today announced their partnership to expand craft beer production and distribution, through the development of a Midwest distribution warehouse and brewery located on the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska reservation. Through collaboration, the tribal organizations are maximizing the potential of their capabilities, infrastructure, and expertise. This innovative business partnership represents the modern adaption of intertribal trade practices with an aim of generating new revenue streams and jobs for tribal citizens in Kansas, Nebraska, and California.
“We are incorporating 21st century technology into our traditional trade practices to create an entirely new economic system that is reflective of our core values surrounding environmental protection and corporate responsibility,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “This outside-of-the-box business model will accelerate our effort to build brighter future for tribal people and the planet for generations.”
This news follows the coat tails of the recently announced professional sports partnerships with the brewery and the San Francisco Giants, as well as the San Jose Barracuda, but the planning and talks between Mad River Brewery [MRB] and Grey Snow Management Solutions [GSMS], has been in the making, long before the brewery made professional sports’ headlines. While the brewery’s efforts to carve out a platform for recognition in professional sports reinforces the importance of economic support for tribal entities in partnerships, it is but one clue to the brewery’s comprehensive and aggressive strategy for expansion and Indigenous visibility.
MRB has a decades-long legacy of churning out award-winning craft ales is not new to the careful selection of the ingredients they source; this partnership will enhance both the end products as well as a cohesive effort to have a positive impact on the world. The Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska [ITKN] has been a force for regenerative agriculture, employing sustainable practices that rebuild and revitalize the soil, reversing climate change while focusing on local economic resilience, and food sovereignty. ITKN has developed the Smart Farm initiative, one focused on generational sustainability and valuing reservation lands and water as limited resources, while looking for economic growth opportunities that will aid in that sustainability. Using modern information and communication technologies to increase the quantity and quality of products while optimizing the amount of human labor required, the Smart Farm Initiative allows the Tribe to adapt to changes in agriculture and provide strategic and reliable operational support services for its membership and private sector partners.
This partnership of two forward-looking and earth-conscious organizations will advance both environmental and social endeavors on and off the reservation, contributing to true tribal sovereignty. But the growing of ingredients are not all that are in store for this partnership. The Midwest reservation location also provides an opportunity for distribution expansion. The proposed development of a second brewing facility on the reservation will have the capacity to serve MRB fans across the country. These plans are all in their early stages, however, both companies want to shed light on what inter-tribal partnership can afford and have extended their expertise and willingness to help other tribes who are looking to enter into this market.
Representatives of both MRB and GSMS have received national awards for their support of reservation economics, intertribal partnerships, and tribally owned business development. Both are emphatically leaving the door open to additional collaboration and involvement, financial partnership, and professional assistance from other tribal businesses as they work together.
“Partnering with Mad River Brewery is right in line with our vision to work with well-established entities towards the enhancement of economic development.” said David Tam, CEO of GSMS. “We are working with tenacity on the many moving parts to continue to support intertribal commerce and develop channels of opportunity through this partnership.”
“The expansion of a vision like this is bigger than both parties. The big picture of what we are doing moves tribal economics into the mainstream,” said Linda Cooley, Yurok Tribal Member and MRB CEO. “We are working on creating a cooperative system for tribes, and we want to see the complementary skills and resources of tribes come together, helping one another. For tribes with casinos, the no-brainer next step is to connect with us to get tribal beers on tap in your facilities. Not only are products from a regenerative operation wholesome and high-quality, but they influence water quality, improve air quality, provide good habitats for wildlife, and strengthen tribal sovereignty, which all align with our shared values.”