By Mai Hoang Yakima Herald-Republic, Wash.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A Yakima based lollipop company founded by two women, is a finalist in the Samuel Adams "Brewing the American Dream Contest." The handcrafted small batch hops-infused pops are made with natural flavors in the heart of American hop country. (The Yakima Valley grows 77% of U.S. hops!)
Yakima Hop Candy, a Yakima business that produces lollipops made with Yakima Valley hops is in the running for a spot in the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream contest, an entrepreneurship competition that will be held in Boston in December.
Yakima Hop Candy is one of six finalists in the contest's Pitch Room Wild Card segment. For this segment, small food and beverage business owners submitted a two-minute video sales pitch.
Six videos, including Yakima Hop Candy's, were selected as finalists by a panel of experts from Samuel Adams and Entrepreneur, the contest's co-organizers.
"It was exciting," owner Heather Hadsel said about being chosen. "I didn't have too high of hopes."
That's because Hadsel had heard about the contest just two days before the video submissions were due. Hadsel used a combination of photographs and fresh video of the hop fields and edited it on iMovie.
But that last-minute effort has given her an opportunity for the final round of competition. The public is invited to vote for their favorite video until Sept. 23.
The business that generates the most votes will receive a spot in the Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room finals with regional winners from Boston, Denver, San Diego and Washington, D.C. During the competition, finalists will get to present their sales pitch for the opportunity to win $10,000 and mentoring from Samuel Adams.
Yakima Hop Candy is no stranger to competition: Hadsel won the 2015-2016 Enterprise Challenge, a business plan competition organized by New Vision, Yakima County's development arm and the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce. She earned $10,000 for winning the contest.
Hadsel has been busy since winning the contest. The money she won enabled her to update the commercial kitchen where she produces the candy. She also hired a part-time employee and is in the final stages of making what she calls Hop Nut Brittle, a peanut brittle flavored with, of course, hops.
If she wins this contest, she hopes to use the money to spread the word about her business.
"Advertising is expensive," she quipped.