Medieval Meets Modern at Superstition Meadery

IMG_20150722_132645_788Know in the ancient histories of  Europe, Africa and Asia, and consumed as early as 1100 BC, mead has often been considered the ancestor of all fermented drinks. Remarkably, this historical beverage can still be enjoyed today right here in downtown Prescott at Superstition Meadery.

IMG_20150722_133514_565Superstition Meadery specializes in hard cider and mead, a wine fermented from honey. Having introduced over 50 unique meads and hard ciders in just three year, this meadery is quickly gaining international attention. Superstition Meadery is known for the quality of their product. So much so, that not only can you find it locally here in Arizona, but you can even purchase it in Singapore, Copenhagen, Thailand and Japan. With mead fermented from 100% Arizona honey it is no surprise that these flavorful beverages are enjoyed world wide.

The tasting room at Superstition Meadery stays true to the historical description of a medieval meadery but brings in a modern twist that makes for a truly unique experience. The room itself is located at 120 W. Gurley St in Prescott, specifically at the underground level of the building. Placed underground, the low lights, soft seating, open-faced fermenting room and the honeycomb integration into the decor will give you a sense of excitement as you are about to experience something wonderfully unique.

IMG_20150724_220805The knowledgeable and friendly staff will tell you everything you to need to know about their mead and hard ciders. With flavors ranging from dry to sweet, you are guaranteed to find something that will entice your taste buds. Check out the video below to learn about the mead makers latest project, The White Series. This series consists of four specialty meads; a Berry White, Blue Berry White, Straw Berry White and Black Berry White. For more information on these meads and more take a look at Superstition Meadery’s website here. Come out and try something new, you won’t regret stopping by!


Posted in Beer Wine and Spirits, Businesses, LFA Member Spotlight, Local First Movement, Made in Arizona, Northern Arizona | Leave a comment

Fuerza Local Spotlight: Meet Diego Rios

Diego Rios is the owner of The King Carpet Cleaning, a local business that delivers professional carpet and tile cleaning services throughout the Phoenix metro areaScreenshot 2015-07-29 11.27.47. Since 2010, Rios has been committed to providing quality and efficient cleaning services to all clients. Rios takes special commitment to customer service and sees cleaning as a way to  improve the environment and the health and well being of all people. Rios is a graduate of the third Fuerza Local business accelerator class.

Screenshot 2015-07-29 11.27.26“Hi, my name is Diego Rios and I am the owner of The King Carpet Cleaning…we chose this name because it is easy to remember and it helps us stay on the top of our clients’ minds for further referral . We are committed to building strong relationships with our clients and our community, by providing good services at a reasonable price. Our company is focused on quality and social responsibility, and that is why we are proud members of Fuerza Local.”

Connect with The King Carpet Cleaning by visiting, emailing, or by calling 623.205.2499.

Every Wednesday, we bring you stories of dedicated business owners who are creating opportunities and vibrant communities through entrepreneurship. Stay tuned for more stories from our Fuerza Local members. 

To view this post in Spanish, please click here.

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Strings Attached

Pigsjpg (2) Fun experiences abound in the summer in the Phoenix metro area. Whether you are looking for ways to keep the kids entertained or a unique date night adventure, the Great Arizona Puppet Theatre has fun for all ages. Housed in a beautifully restored historic building near the Japanese Friendship Garden, shows are held year round and include classics like Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks along with Arizona themed shows featuring puppet saguaros and cute desert critters. Leave the kids home for adult puppet slams which are quirky, edgy, short and funny puppet shows by Arizona’s leading puppeteers. The theatre hosts birthday parties, school field trips and family outings, and will also take their show on the road to schools and events. The gift shop, open during performances or by appointment, has a unique selection of hand puppets, marionettes, how-to guides and more. Supporting the creative community in Arizona has never been so fun.GAPT-Seal-Logo-sm

The Great Arizona Puppet Theater
302 W. Latham Street
Phoenix AZ 85003

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CO+HOOTS is Representing Arizona in Startup Federation

5186CO+HOOTS is a shared office location in downtown Phoenix that promotes collaboration and provides a professional, self-sustaining space to grow and nurture entrepreneurialism. Creatives, entrepreneurs and small businesses of all areas flock there to be a part of the growing vibrancy of downtown Phoenix. As a community of local-minded and business-focused people, we are able to collaborate on projects, share resources and generate more successful businesses.

CO+HOOTS was chosen to represent Arizona in Startup Federation, a global network of the world’s top incubators and coworking spaces. The federation seeks to build density globally and build an ecosystem that transcends geographic boundaries so that our world’s most promising entrepreneurs and young companies can access the resources they need to scale regardless of the city they choose to call home.

CO+HOOTS, home to more than 200 local small businesses, is excited to represent Arizona in the global Startup Federation.

“We’re honored to be representing Arizona for the Startup Federation and incredibly excited to see what new collaborations will come of this partnership,” said CO+HOOTS Founder Jenny Poon. “We have such great talent here in Phoenix and to be able to give entrepreneurs here access to global resources in a world that is becoming so borderless will truly push innovation for all industries.

The vision of Startup Federation to support global entrepreneurship is directly in line with that of CO+HOOTS Foundation’s focus area to build a global network of mentors and resources to support entrepreneurs. CO+HOOTS Foundation, which is the nonprofit arm of CO+HOOTS, also hosts CO+EXCHANGES, a global exchange program and will offer this program for Startup Federation members to participate in the future.

The alliance will broaden the network the CO+EXCHANGES program has, and in turn bring innovative minds from around the world to Phoenix to address local and global issues. It will also help connect CO+HOOTS to coworking spaces around the world for Phoenix entrepreneurs to visit and collaborate.

 Localist Logo Red Heart State SquareCongratulations to CO+HOOTS and check out all the local co-working spots in Phoenix and Tucson here!

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New Courtyard Wows the Crowd at the Grand Highland Hotel

It was a great night to spend with the Prescott community at our northern Arizona July GHHmixer, held last Wednesday 7/22. We could not have asked to spend a better 80 degree evening than the one we enjoyed at the newest Whiskey Row attraction, the beautiful Grand Highland Hotel outdoor courtyard.

The Grand Highland Hotel is a historic boutique hotel located on Whiskey Row in Prescott, AZ. Built in 1903, the hotel was recently reconstructed to combine historic architecture and brick with today’s modern amenities. Each of the twelve rooms is individually decorated to reflect an aspect of Prescott’s storied history. Only a few weeks ago the hotel debuted its newest addition to downtown, their state of the art outdoor courtyard. Guests sipped on delicious brews poured by local brewery, Granite Mountain Brewing, as they took in the high-tech sound stage, beautifully strung lights, patio seating, growing flora and exceptional design.

IMG_20150722_182622_388Director of Local First Arizona, Kimber Lanning joined in the evening fun and gave a riveting speech on how a unique town like Prescott, can keep its special identity by working together and supporting the local market. We also discussed the upcoming 2015 Arizona Rural Policy Forum being held this August 6th & 7th in Clarkdale. Northern Arizona Director, Cara Corbinmeyer was excited to make the announcement for the northern Arizona Localist Program launch party, Party in the Pines, being held Friday, August 7th at Criollo Latin Kitchen in Flagstaff.

IMG_20150722_182739_708Join us at our next mixer Wednesday, August 19th at Desert Diamond Distillery in Old Town Cottonwood. Make your RSVP here!

Thank you to all who came out!




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3 Things We Learned About Whiskey Del Bac


Last weekend, Localists joined at Pastiche for a guided tasting of Whiskey Del Bac from Hamilton Distillers. If you haven’t heard of this super local spirit, it’s because they are still a relatively small distillery  located in the heart of Tucson. Stephen Paul, co-founder of Hamilton Distillers, took his “love of place”, and infused it into the essence of Whiskey Del Bac. Malted over mesquite, rather than peat (as is traditional for most Scottish whiskeys), this spirit has a uniquely Southwestern flare that drew us in and kept us wanting more. Weather you are a whiskey expert or new to the world of spirits, there was something to learn for everyone at the Localist Tasting of Whiskey Del Bac.

1. Hamilton uses sustainably sourced ingredients.

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Image via BKW Farms

The wheat that Hamilton uses in their distilling process comes from BKW Farms, a local grower and supplier of White Sonora Wheat. “White Sonora Wheat is a sustainable, heritage grain that offers a healthy, delicious alternative to modern wheat. BKW Farms in Marana, Arizona is proud to play a role in re-introducing White Sonora Wheat to consumers and in increasing sustainable food production in Southern Arizona. BKW Farms is growing White Sonora Wheat the way it was traditionally grown – without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers. White Sonora Wheat grown at the farm is USDA Certified Organic.”

2. Hamilton “Closes the Loop” with their production.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.43.51 AMA lot goes in to the process of brewing whiskey, and Hamilton cuts waste on both ends. First off, the mesquite that they use in distilling their Whiskeys Del Bac comes from the left over scraps of their furniture company, Arroyo Design. The theme of re-purposing also comes in at the end of the process. Once the whiskey is malted, distilled, and ready for purchase, there is a lot of leftover grain from the fermentation. This “spent grain” is then delivered to E&R Pork, and the cows at BKW Farms, to feed the livestock. We’re told that whiskey grains make for particularly “happy” cows and pigs.

                          Image via E & R Pork

3. Hamilton appreciates their volunteers, really appreciates them.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 11.03.57 AMLunch and a bottle of whiskey, how bad can that be?  Since Hamilton is experiencing high demand for their products, they are offering a great deal to folks willing to roll up their sleeves for the cause. Simply volunteer for them for a few hours, and get free lunch with a bottle of Whiskey Del Bac! Spots fill up FAST, so make sure to keep an eye out on their facebook to participate.

Image Via Whiskey Del Bac

Looking for a local spot to sample some Whiskey Del Bac? It is available at Agustin, Pastiche, Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails, Proper, and so many more.

Localist BlueThe Localist Tasting of Whiskey Del Bac was curated for the Local First Arizona Localist Program. Members of the Localist program get exclusive invitations to events all over the state that highlight the plethora of amazing local businesses we have to offer. From whiskey tastings, to private shopping hour/style sessions, to backstage tours, the Localist Program has something for everyone. Not a Localist yet? Sign up today!

Our next Localist event in Tucson is going to be our Cowboy Monsoon Luau! This is a Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 9.33.39 AMscreamin’ deal which gets you a room at the Historic Downtown Clifton Hotel, access to the MoCA Pools, Dinner & Drinks from Mama’s Hawaiian BBQ, Live Music, and Complimentary Breakfast for Sunday morning at 5 Points Market, all for just $100/couple. The event is Saturday, August 29th. Sign up today!

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Total Transit Recognized for Charitable Giving

Congratulations Total Transit!

Total Transit, parent company of Discount Cab, has been recognized for their philanthropic efforts including monetary donations, volunteer time and free rides by the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) fortotal transit its charitable efforts throughout the state. Total Transit is showing through their actions how often local business donate more back into their communities than national chains.  

The TLPA’s Community Connections program encourages its members to take part in charity efforts of their choice. This year’s participants donated to local charities throughout a 12-month period ending on April 30, 2015. While the reported figures likely only represent a fraction of the generosity of the industry, says TLPA President Mike Fogarty, members reported nearly $1.7 million in charitable giving. Just 10 percent of TLPA’s 1,100 members reported their charitable deductions in response to an online survey.

Total Transit reported nearly $226,000 in charitable giving in the TLPA survey, representing gifts to about two dozen community organizations including Save the Family, Homeward Bound, the Wounded Warrior Project and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona. In 2009, Total Transit created the Total Transit Foundation, a non-profit designed to donate and contribute to a variety of causes and charities that align with the company’s goal of helping the less fortunate. Each year, the company contributes a portion of its net income to fund the Foundation each year.

In addition to traditional monetary donations, company employees are also encouraged to participate in whatever community organizations they choose, said Total Transit CEO Craig Hughes. “We are so fortunate to be in a position to be able to help organizations that do so much for the community. Many of our team members have attached to our core principle of community involvement by individually fulfilling their desire to make an impact, which is immensely satisfying.” One example is the group of more than a dozen Total Transit employees who have created a group that works together on a Habitat for Humanity build project each month.

The company is also committed to providing a safe trip home for passengers who may be too inebriated to drive. Through the company’s Free Ride Back program, a Discount Cab will drive that passenger home safely and return them to their car the next day, free of charge. The passenger just needs to pay for the original fare home. In 2014 alone, the company provided more than $82,000 in free rides for those passengers. Another way the company is committed to the safety of the community is its participation in the Taxis on Patrol program with local law enforcement agencies.

“Giving back to the community can be done so many different ways; it isn’t only a big check that matters,” Hughes said. “Supporting deserving organizations through financial donations, volunteer or other resources is just one way for us to show our gratitude to a community that has shown so much support to us over the last 31 years.

A Little More About Total Transit

Headquartered in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Arizona, Total Transit, Inc. is a privately owned Arizona based corporation, was founded in 1984, and offers comprehensive transportation management, private and public transportation services. Total Transit has grown into one of the premier transportation companies in the country, with operations all throughout Arizona.

Total Transit is also easily accessible on your smartphone with their app.

Click here to download the Total Transit App!

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Something Local, Something Practical

Practical Art

It’s always difficult to find that perfect gift for someone who wants nothing and has everything. But, did you know you can find a needle in the haystack at a local artisan boutique? Practical Art is a friendly retail and gallery space featuring 100% locally-made wares in wood, fiber, ceramic, glass, metal, and up-cycled materials.  All of the work sold at this gallery space is produced by more than 100 Arizona artisans and is created with some kind of useful in mind – everything from kitchen tools to home and office items, soap, clothing, furniture, jewelry, and more. One of their main missions is to offer artful products and gifts that are affordable and accessible, meaning the majority of the items in the shop are under $35!

Practical Art 2    Practical Art 3

Next time you’re on the hunt for a creative gift, from holidays, birthdays, host gifts to wedding anniversaries and birthdays, swing by Practical Art, which allows you to support local artists, support a green initiative, and provide an awesome gift that is sure to resonate and please those unwrapping your thoughtfulness. Along with the regularly featured functional art by over 100 Arizona artists, this super cute gallery space also hosts ongoing art shows featuring an emerging Arizona visual artist for a month long solo show on its gallery wall, as well as kids classes and events that are family friendly. Be sure to check out their website for the latest happenings.

Written by Somlynn Rorie
Images via Practical Art

Posted in Arizona, Arts and Culture, Businesses, Greater Phoenix, LFA Member Spotlight, Local First Movement | Leave a comment

Introducing the 3rd Scottsdale Small Wonders Map


Pocket-sized guide serves as resource to find local restaurants, shops, and more!

Local First Arizona has now released the third edition of the Scottsdale Small Wonders Map, a pocket-sized guide featuring over thirty local restaurants, galleries, boutiques, venues, and experiences located in Scottsdale. All of the businesses included in the guide are independently owned and operated.

unnamed“We created the Small Wonders map series to help Arizona residents and visitors find the unique local businesses in their neighborhoods,” said Kimber Lanning, Director of Local First Arizona. Some of the businesses featured in the third edition of the Scottsdale Small Wonders map include diverse businesses such as AZ on the Rocks, Kidstop Toys, and Zak’s Chocolate, and also includes returning Scottsdale classics like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, Hotel Valley Ho, and Pink Pony.

The third edition of the Scottsdale Small Wonders map features local businesses all over Scottsdale from Bell Road to McDowell Road. This map also features information about nearly twenty public events happening in the Scottsdale area including MIMFest from the Musical Instrument Museum, Arizona Taco Festival, and the Food Truck’s Caravan.

Scott Yanni, general manager of popular Old Town Scottsdale Wine Bar 5th and Wine, says he choose to participate in the Scottsdale Small Wonders Map because it shows where the locals go. “We chose to participate in the Small Wonders Map because we thought it would be a good avenue to reach a wide range of potential customers,” said Yanni, as the maps are distributed at a variety of locations including hotels, apartments, and other local businesses.

Supporters of the Small Wonders map say that connecting residents and visitors to local businesses in Scottsdale results in a variety of benefits for the community. “Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers which are essential to reducing sprawl and automobile use”, says Kim Brush, owner of My Popcorn Kitchen, on the far-reaching benefits of supporting local business.

Local First Arizona has also produced Small Wonders maps for Central Phoenix, Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood, Tucson, the Verde Valley, Gilbert, Glendale, Tempe, and Mesa. The Scottsdale Small Wonders map can be viewed digitally at the Local First Arizona website: Physical maps can be picked up at a variety of local businesses, hotels, apartments, and events in the Scottsdale area. Business owners, realtors, property managers, hotels, event organizers, and individuals can request maps for distribution free of charge by contacting Local First Arizona at Fifty thousand copies of the Scottsdale Small Wonders maps have been printed for distribution, look for them near you!

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The Case for Food Hubs

While there are many local-centric models, like CSAs (community supported agriculture), that remove the middleman and bring the farm directly into the kitchen, regional food hubs are the missing link that fosters local support for small and micro farms. This missing link is recognized as a strategy for nurturing food businesses in cities. Not only do food hubs provide a market outlet for many food producers, they also restore and strengthen local food systems. In fact, regional food hubs may be the next step to taking “good food” mainstream.

As defined by the National Food Hub Collaboration,

“A food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers in order to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.”


There are many reasons that food hubs can be beneficial in our local food system. Food hubs:

  • Increase the knowledge and information customers have of local food production, and in turn these customers can better support their local economy.1016097355_cae7096d2f_o
  • Promote healthy options for consumers by offering fruits, vegetables, and local products that do not contain added harmful chemicals.
  • Increase transparency so customers know where their food comes from and the practices used by farmers.
  • Reduce food miles by selling only local food since food travels longer distances with commercial distributors and grocers.
  • Build a stronger economy where more money stays within the local economy because all transactions will be from either local farms or consumers at a local store front.

“Regional food hubs make local food movements a reality; by rebuilding local infrastructure they provide a critical bridge between producer and consumer.” – Douglas Gayeton

Food hubs can take on many forms. Some local examples from Arizona include:

Hayden Flour Mills works with many small farms across the state to grow and revive heritage grains that grew in Arizona in the as far back as the late 1800s. They aggregate grains from their farmers including white Sonora wheat and mill them to make flours using a traditional stonemill.

Crooked Sky Farms has several farms throughout Arizona. The different farms offers Crooked Sky the ability to grow in produce in complimentary growing seasons. This also allows them to produce a wider variety of produce year-round.

Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona receives daily shipments of food donations from local businesses and farmers. Once all of the food is at a central location, the food bank combines the donated food into personal packages to feed the hungry.

Learn more at The Lexicon of Food | Regional Food Hub

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