Trapp Family Lodge
The Trapp Family Lodge resort has a distinct European cache, containing all of the European inspirations and family traditions that formed their heritage. The family’s heritage is also evident in the European decor of the Austrian-style main lodge, where one- and two-bedroom family suites are outfitted with duvet comforters, patios with mountain views and whirlpool tubs. The elegant, European-style furnishings of multi-level chalets and luxury villas complement the scenic Vermont surroundings. The Trapp Family Lodge currently offers extensive activities of recreation and relaxation on the expansive 2,500 acres. With 96 rooms in the main lodge, 100 guest house Chalets, and 21 three-bedroom Villas, the Trapp Family Lodge offers a wide range of accommodations which are supplemented by amenities such as the Fitness Center, mountain biking/hiking/cross country skiing trails, and several dining offerings, including the main dining room and lounge in the Lodge and the DeliBakery.
The proposed EB-5 project is a multi-faceted project at the Resort, including: (1) the construction of an expanded Trapp Family Brewery and a new European-style beer hall restaurant to create a destination craft brewery to compliment the Trapp Family Resort’s European experience, and (2) the operation of the expanded destination craft-brewery (whose annual production capacity is expected to increase from 2,000 barrels to 50,000 barrels per year). The EB-5 project is part of an effort to upgrade the resort’s amenities and enhancing the resort’s European experience, thereby strengthening the positioning the resort maintains for the increasingly competitive marketplace for travelers. Project approval has been granted by the State of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD). ACCD is an approved and designated Regional Center recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The von Trapp family story is well known. In the early 1940's, after having fled the Nazi regime in Europe, the von Trapp family settled in Stowe, Vermont on an enchanted farm with sweeping mountain vistas reminiscent of their beloved Austria. The family began its journey to today’s world class resort on their Stowe property by welcoming guests to a rustic 27-room family home/lodge in the summer of 1950. Over the next three decades, the family business grew into a successful destination for visitors and recreational enthusiasts from around the globe. After a devastating fire in 1980, the original structure was replaced by a striking new 96-room alpine Lodge, now attended by 2,500 acres of magnificent indoor and outdoor resort amenities.
The proposed project includes the enhancement/refurbishment of the Trapp Family Lodge resort, the expansion of the existing Trapp Family Brewery and related facilities—including the construction and operations of a 150 seat “on-premises” restaurant in the format of a traditional Austrian-style beer hall.
Forbes Magazine & State of Vermont Article
January 24, 2012
The von Trapp family of Austria sang its way into American hearts through the popularity of “The Sound of Music” on stage and in film after World War II. The family bravely fled the spread of Hitler’s tyranny into their homeland and made it all the way to Philadelphia in 1938 in part with money made from singing. They finally settled down in 1942 in the mountains of Stowe, Vermont, where they continued to perform and eventually ran a successful inn, the Trapp Family Lodge. The spot is surrounded by 2,500 idyllic acres of Vermont beauty, and the lodge highlights outdoor fun and European food.
The singing performances have ended, but the family’s ambition to expand its business lives on. Maria, the mother played by Julie Andrews, died in 1987, and the family enterprise today is led by her still-active son, Johannes. After building up the lodge and moving the family into real estate development, the lanky 73-year-old heir of the von Trapp legacy and Dartmouth graduate is ready to push ahead on yet another new family enterprise: beer.
“I’ve always loved traveling in Austria, stopping in little inns in small towns. Almost anywhere in Austria, there’s a local brewery producing wonderful products that really taste good and don’t give you a headache if you had one too much,” says Johannes, with a trace of an accent from the family’s homeland. “I really want to produce a beer like that for sale here.” After mulling the idea over idea for years, he says, the U.S. recession in 2008 was the final nudge: occupancy at the 100-room lodge fell, and real estate sales dropped. “The time seemed right,” he said in a recent interview in Stowe.
So Johannes opened a microbrewery that produces “Trapp Lager” in a basement below a stand-alone lodge deli house. Though the startup operation is small, it’s been a hit: the family’s draft brew is sold in about 70 bars and restaurants, mostly in Vermont. Encouraged by that success, he wants to invest $12 million for a stand-alone plant, boost production to 50,000 barrels a year, expand into nine northeastern states, and perhaps even tap overseas markets.
It’s a crowded field. Tiny Vermont itself has more than a dozen microbreweries, among the most per-capita in America. And there is a regional heavyweight rival, Sam Adams of Boston. “There is a great deal of competition,” Johannes concedes. Yet there’s a “great big hole in the product line-up which we have driven our beer truck into, and that is the lager field. Most of the micro-breweries are brewing ale, and we are brewing lagers.”
This is where China enters the picture. The U.S. government allows Vermont to participate in a federal program that, subject to certain criteria, grants permanent residence cards to overseas immigrants who invest at least $500,000 in the state. Participants are usually willing to trade high investment return for a solid project that will lead to residence, and Johannes says his brewery will do just that. He is also interested in finding a partner that will help him crack the China market, which he views as growing and possessing demand for a good lager beer, though there is broader competition in the industry from the likes of Inbev, Tsingdao, Carlsberg, and China Resources Enterprise, not to mention investment restrictions. To promote his Stowe brewery investment project, he will be joining an “Invest in the U.S.” trade fair in Shanghai in February, and plans to stay on after in search of business.
If all goes well, he’ll break ground back on his investment project in Stowe this year. There’s no word yet on when beer drinkers in China will have a chance to order up a Trapp Lager.
December 28, 2011
Vermont EB-5 Regional Center Recognized as Best in the Nation, Receives EB-5 Regional Center of the Year Award for Second Consecutive Year
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s EB-5 Regional Center has again received the EB-5 Regional Center of the Year Award for the second year in row by the Artisan Business Group.
The Artisan Business group is one of the largest EB-5 brokers in the world, dealing primarily with the Chinese investor marketplace. In giving the award, the Artisan group noted that as the only government-run regional center in the country, Vermont stands out with its strong governmental support, including direct involvement in the program from Gov. Peter Shumlin and Sen. Patrick Leahy. Artisan further states that Vermont’s intensive application process and oversight has led to stronger than average projects, creating a strong market brand for Vermont.
The main focus of Vermont’s work in EB-5 is job creation. “These investments require job creation, so becoming the industry leader nationally not only provides significant investment capital for Vermont businesses, but also creates jobs for Vermonters,” said Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lawrence Miller.
The Vermont EB-5 Regional Center was created in 1998 and is managed by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The federal program gives a green card benefit to investors who invest at least $500,000 in an approved project, and must personally show that that investment creates at least 10 direct and indirect jobs. Since 1998, more than $250 million has been invested in Vermont by EB-5 investors in companies such as Jay Peak Resort, Sugarbush Resort, Country Home Products, and Seldon Technologies.
The year 2011 was an especially strong year for the Vermont Regional Center, with more than $100 million estimated to have been invested in Vermont projects alone. With almost 200 regional centers in the country, this constitutes almost 15 percent of all EB-5 investment nationally for the year, showing Vermont’s strong position in the marketplace.
“Without the EB-5 program, many of these projects would not have found the capital they needed for their expansions, and the hundreds of jobs tied to them would not have been created,” said James Candido, the director of the EB-5 for the State of Vermont.
Candido added that the way Vermont has structured its Regional Center is the biggest reason for its success, “EB-5 investors are looking for as much safety as possible in their at-risk investment. Since Vermont was one of the first EB-5 Regional Centers in the country, we have a solid understanding of EB-5 and a significant track record that benefits our projects and market perception,” he said. “The award from the Artisan group is significant for both present and future Vermont EB-5 projects, since Artisan is one of the largest broker firms that pair Chinese investors to EB-5 projects. Roughly 50 percent of all EB-5 investment in 2011 was from Chinese nationals, so this is an important recognition.”
Source: Agency of Commerce and Community Development