OC Entrepreneur Brews Business Beyond the Boardwalk

Sometimes you just have to know when to pivot. After opening Backshore Brewing Co. -- Ocean City’s only boardwalk-based brewery -- owner Danny Robinson discovered that many of his customers were in the market for lighter alcohol, organic beverages.

Fueled by wellness and the public’s growing interest in natural ingredients, Danny leveraged his beer-making equipment and expertise to explore new drink options. Working with his brew master, he experimented with flavors and styles to create Hoop Tea, a line of handcrafted alcoholic beverages made with all natural and organic ingredients.

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As Hoop Tea quickly grew in popularity, Danny realized that he would soon outgrow production capacity to meet the demands of his growing customer base. Thanks to Maryland’s Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) fund, he secured a $250,000 VLT loan to hire staff and lease facilities to scale production and distribution of his growing beverage business.

Now brewed in dozens of flavors including White Mango, Watermelon Mint, and Pineapple Passion Fruit, Hoop Tea is available in 12-ounce skinny cans and their signature 3-liter party pouches (often displayed on eye catching surfboard racks!). A new line named Hoop Tea Aire features lower alcohol and fewer calories in refreshing flavors such as Goji Berry Green Tea and Kiwi Berry Matcha.

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Hoop Tea is available at hundreds of restaurants and retailers in the Mid-Atlantic. Learn more about the company and where Hoop Tea is sold here.

VIDEO LOTTERY TERMINAL (VLT) FUND 

Because Worcester County is home to Ocean Downs – Delmarva’s only casino - dozens of local businesses have tapped the VLT Fund. The program uses slot machine proceeds to assist small, minority, and women owned businesses in areas near Maryland casinos. Half of all VLT funds generated at Ocean Downs’ Berlin-based casino must be used within a 10-mile radius.

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While businesses may apply to any of the eight fund managers, the program has a regional focus. Worcester County businesses should initially contact either Maryland Capital Enterprises in Salisbury (Maurice Ames) or the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation in Annapolis (Stephen Primosch).

Learn more about the VLT fund here or contact our Business Recruitment Specialist Michele Burke for more information. 

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