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       NPR Interview: "Craft Breweries Popping Up Across the Rural Bible Belt"
First published 3/2/2017

by Jennifer Moore for NPR

WEST PLAINS, MO - First interview Phil did with NPR!


       Local Brewery Crowdfunds Start-Up
June 25, 2015

WEST PLAINS, MO - Wages Brew Company (WBCo) of West Plains has launched a fundraising drive with a twist as its next step toward opening doors later this year. “Founding Memberships” are being sold to raise $10,000 by July 1 that will enable the fledgling company to access further financing via a small business loan, said owner Phil Wages, who describes this approach as “crowdfunding like Kickstarter, but in person.”

Kickstarter is an online fundraising venue in which startups offer a sampling of their offerings to financial “backers” who pledge to contribute donations of a certain amount of money toward a project. In a similar vein, WBCo is offering unique benefits to supporters of WBCo's opening.

Wages said this current fundraiser is part of a much larger fundraising effort. Ultimately, he said, the goal is to raise a total of $20,000 by September 1. “That's for an opening with more equipment so we can supply more beer to more people,” he said, adding that “for those who want to have a greater level of involvement, we have pieces of equipment to sponsor which will make our opening that much more spectacular.”

WBCo consists of Wages, co-owner and wife Amber, and brewing team members Nathan Burch and Aym Fischer.

*This story was picked up by Ozark Radio Network originally airing on June 2, 2015!

       Logo Design Contest Connects Craft Brewery To Community
March 13, 2015

WEST PLAINS, Missouri, March 7, 2015 - Many people think craft beer is defined by their use of unorthodox ingredients to create new and original flavors. While this is true, it's only a small part of the picture. Their ingenuity translates into so much more. Wages Brewing Company, West Plains, Mo., illustrated this best when they used an innovative approach to come up with their company's logo: an art design contest.

"We are a very small operation known as a 'nano-brewery' preparing to open our doors later this year", said owner/founder Phil Wages, "and we don't have our sights on opening a giant production facility to send our beers to the far corners of the world." He admitted he wouldn't resist it if the public demanded. "Instead, we are focused on our community [in West Plains], and we have a strong desire to do as much locally as possible. For instance, we are developing a persimmon beer with locally harvested persimmons, and we're working with local farmers to supply us with some heirloom, non-GMO corn, and we've got a lot more ideas to bring to fruition."

"Keeping with our desire to be as local as possible, we decided we didn't want to just hire a graphics firm to design our logo." Wages explained, "We felt the people of the Ozarks would have a unique approach similar to our own. So we came up with a contest to have artists from the Ozarks submit logo designs to us. I have to admit; I was extremely nervous. But in the end, we found our winner in Dee Ann Lange, the owner of Dog Gone Creative, out of Kirkwood, Mo."

Wages went on to say those nerves were put to rest when the submissions came pouring in. In all, 20 designers submitted over 200 designs during the one month contest. He says, "Once the submission deadline passed, we were like 'How are we going to choose!?'". He and his team spent an entire month picking the winning design. "It was so difficult because at least five or six of the logos were wonderful in their own right. But in the end, there could be only one. I tell you, Dee Ann had submitted something like 50 or so variations of the same concept. I thought for sure she was going to quit because of my intensity, but she was a pure joy to work with!"

"Dee Ann Lange's winning design conveyed everything we wanted including having a modern feel while expressing our rough around the edges approach" Wages expounded, "The fingerprint really secured it for me. It shows we're putting our mark on this brewery, and really, our whole community." Dee Ann received a prize including $500 cash as well as an assortment of brewery merchandise and VIP attendance to a future special event.

Craft brewers continue to innovate with grassroots approaches like Wages Brewing Company's recent logo contest. Wages said, "Craft beer isn't just about me or you or beer in general. It's about all of that, but most importantly, about love and passion. Otherwise, what's the point?"

Wages Brewing Company is looking to open around late summer or fall this year.

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