This Life Forever Inc. Receives $175K Loan to Expand Lehigh County Distillery

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LEHIGH COUNTY, PA — Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger this week announced the approval of a $175,000 loan to help This Life Forever Inc. expand its Lehigh County distillery. The funding, approved through the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA), builds on Governor Josh Shapiro’s commitment to spurring economic development and helping small businesses grow across Pennsylvania.

The PMBDA loan will help This Life Forever purchase machinery and equipment for the distillery and finance the working capital required to support the expansion of its business operations and increase its workforce. The company has three full-time employees and will create two additional full-time jobs at its 841 North Gilmore Street location in Allentown.

“The Shapiro Administration is committed to investing in the Commonwealth’s small, minority-owned businesses,” said Secretary Siger. “We want to ensure these business owners have access to resources they need to thrive, and PMBDA helps make this a reality. “Empowering our minority-owned businesses helps create jobs, grows our economy and sends a clear message that Pennsylvania is open for business to everyone.”

This Life Forever was founded in 2008 and incorporated in 2012 by Russell Fletcher, CEO and Master Distiller. The company is the first minority-owned distillery in Pennsylvania and is the producer of a grass-roots premium vodka brand, Mishka Premium Vodka. This Life Forever also plans to expand the product lines into low-proof ready to drinks (RTDs), canned wines, and co-packing.

“I appreciate this assistance from the PMBDA — reviving domestic manufacturing is a key part of keeping our country’s economy stable in the future and now,” said Fletcher. “I’m thankful that the Commonwealth and DCED are willing to work with This Life Forever to assist in reaching these goals.”

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Governor Shapiro made good on his promise to invest in small minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses across the Commonwealth by securing $20 million in first-time state funding for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Program. Earlier this week, Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis and Secretary Siger highlighted this new state funding by visiting Candle Kreationz, a woman-owned business in Steelton that opened earlier this year.

As Governor Shapiro said in his budget address, “I want every Pennsylvanian to know that our Commonwealth values what you bring to the table, and we will take an active role in breaking down the barriers to progress and partnering with you. We’ll provide long-overdue funding for women and minority-owned businesses across this Commonwealth, to support their growth and open new doors of opportunity.”

On average, disadvantaged businesses have less access to capital, are three times more likely to be denied loans, are more likely to pay a higher interest rate, and are more likely to receive lower loan amounts than non-minority owned firms.

The PMBDA, established in 1974, administers low-interest loan financing to businesses owned and operated by ethnic minorities to stimulate job creation and entrepreneurial development.

For more information about the PMBDA and Department of Community and Economic Development, visit DCED website.

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