This year has been filled with uncertainties, but also innovation.


In every industry, people have had to pivot, finding new ways to sell a product, connect with an audience and otherwise keep a paycheck coming in.


It hasn’t been easy, especially in the hospitality industry, but we’ve also seen some really creative new initiatives, strategies and even new businesses come out of the pandemic.


One of them was the expansion of the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, which added a statewide umbrella organization, as well as branches in San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Even though the non-profit didn’t host its major fundraiser events this year, it is still planning to give away $27,500 in grants to other culinary innovators later this year.


From a release: "Eligible applicants for the Alliance’s one-of-a-kind grant program include farmers, artisan producers, chefs, wine/beer/spirits makers, and culinary businesses and culinary professionals whose projects and initiatives show innovation and impact to the community."


Grant applications are open now through Oct. 23 via austinfoodandwinealliance.org. Winners will be announced at an online ceremony in December.


The organization has awarded $360,000 in grants since 2012, and earlier this year, it distributed $14,000 in pandemic relief in June.