covid-19

COVID-19 began as an abstract. It was something happening across the world, but not here in Michigan, or even the United States. It was murmurs and rumors and hand washing.

And then March 16 came and everything changed with a quick, decisive snap when Governor Gretchen Whitmer closed all dine-in service for bars and restaurants across the entire state of Michigan. I went from being a full-time Sales Representative for Beards Brewery to a question mark—and I was not the only one. Here’s a peek into our COVID-19 story:

covid-19

Emily Hengstebeck

Beards Brewery sits at the very entrance of Downtown Petoskey overlooking Little Traverse Bay. The pub and restaurant’s capacity is over 300 with our outdoor patio included, and we offer a full menu of food, beer, cider, and soda. We host local musicians and organize a monthly concert series as well. Needless to say, we are well-practiced and used to managing large crowds and thirsty customers. 

When all of that became a moot point our management team took quick, decisive action. For our small business to survive, we immediately changed our dine-in model to a takeout and delivery model staffed by a skeleton crew, while a majority of employees were temporarily laid off. 

“We were forced to become more flexible,” says Peter Manthei, co-owner and co-founder of Beards. 

“Restaurants and any business in hospitality are financial acrobats,” says Ben Slocum, the other co-owner and co-founder of Beards. “Most are living at tight levels of cash flow margin—enough for a few weeks and that’s it.”

With COVID-19 making the cash flow margins even tighter, Beards executed To Go & Delivery within just a few days after the dine-in shutdown. And I can say a lot of things about how this went, but the most important aspect was the outpouring of community support. 

“The ones that care, really care. It might sound cheesy, but it made our shining star shine brighter,” says Slocum. 

Especially in Northern Michigan, our shining star is community; and our local community keeps Beards (and other small businesses) afloat in non-tourist months. Even amidst a pandemic, many of our pub regulars who could no longer belly up to our bar showed up for their Beards food and beer. And with everyone restricted from gathering together, it was nice to see familiar faces, even if it was through a car window. 

Meanwhile, behind the scenes our owners strived to keep up with the constant updates to unemployment, the Payment Protection Program (PPP), and any and all health and safety bulletins. Planning for the month turned into adjusting plans daily to adapt to new regulations. Is there a right way? A wrong way? Support, grants, and regulations have been primarily reactive, with too many agencies being caught off guard to paint a clear picture. For instance, the PPP fast-tracked money to small businesses to aid operations and payroll, but only after the funds had been dispersed were tutorials and guidelines provided to business owners. 

covid-19

“It [PPP] got cash in people’s hands quickly, but not knowing how to utilize it has been tough.” says Manthei. 

Because of Beards’ seasonality—meaning a majority of our business comes from the summer months—we are ultimately hoping the PPP can slow down any backslide we have to endure over the next six months of not being open to our full capacity. And in true Beards’ spirit, we are making it work. 

To us at Beards, making it work means we thought very seriously about whether or not to open our dine-in service Memorial Day weekend following Governor Whitmer’s announcement. With only four days between the announcement and the weekend, we decided it was not enough time to finish our construction projects or ensure quality of service and safety to both our customers and staff. 

“How do we provide a level of service while distancing? How do we provide a fun experience while wearing masks?” asks Manthei.

We were not the only ones to remain closed, but there were other businesses who did open their doors. 

Like many other businesses, we asked around about what was working, how customers were reacting, and how to keep everyone comfortable while still maintaining the safety requirements. Admittedly, the world seemed to be all over the spectrum. While some reopened establishments operated with clear COVID-19 signage and traffic flow to steer customers into staying cautious, others were completely denying the restrictions by seemingly not caring at all that large groups, many of whom who were unmasked, were gathering in their spaces. 

covid-19

It was a careful experiment on our end. At first our management team used signage, red floor arrows, and trained staff to direct and inform our customers on how to move about our space. We quickly realized that absolutely no one looked at the floor no matter how obvious the arrows were, so we got rid of those by the end of the week, using our staff instead to guide customers around our space to abide by safe social distancing rules. 

When it came to mask wearing, we very clearly demanded that upon entering and moving about the pub, customers were to wear masks at all times. When seated, customers are allowed to de-mask and enjoy their meal and full experience. And most customers have been abiding by this practice with grace and understanding; however, there have been a few colorful stand-outs in opposition. They did not stay at Beards Brewery for long as their attitudes and disregard for the safety of our staff and other customers was not welcome. Staff, I must note, are wearing masks during their entire shifts whether they work as front of the house or back of the house workers, only taking them off to hydrate or eat their meals on their breaks from the safety of our break room. 

Northern Michigan has always been a haven for Michiganders and other visitors—a place to get away, to breathe fresh air, relax, and come together. For many, Northern Michigan has been an escape from COVID-19. Our population size and the amount of open space we have has made our region safer than most. But this does not mean we are invulnerable, so while we have our usual summer influx of tourism and vacationers, we will still be here, but it will be on our terms. 

Looking to other regions of the state, and other bars and restaurants tackling the same issues we are, it all seems like an experiment. Truthfully, it’s frightening for many reasons. No one wants another surge in positive COVID-19 cases to happen, obviously, but outside health and safety, a lot of establishments are asking themselves—can we make enough money at 50% capacity to justify opening? Some of my staff will not return to work—is it because of fear or because unemployment is more lucrative? My space is small and narrow—how do I direct traffic inside my space safely? What will my business plan look like next year? Will my business still be here next year? 

These are all fears. Some are short term problems and some we will only begin to see in the next six months. The survival of hospitality will not rely on the customers’ need to go out to dinner; rather, it will survive because ownership and management will have made the right decisions. 

At Beards, we have had to cut back our menu offerings as well as our hours in order to keep our present staff healthy and safe while trying to avoid over-work. And although we have hiring challenges every summer due to the huge need, it is more difficult this year with many people still staying at home and not working. Our staff have also become multi-taskers—every staffer has been trained to work almost every position at our pub in order to fulfill ease of scheduling and protocol. We have waiters working in the back of the house slinging pizzas. We have hosts manning the dishwasher. We have our sales representative chopping, pressing, fetching, catching, and helping a little bit everywhere. And everyone busses tables. It is truly a team effort. 

Outside our home pub in Petoskey, our sales market has been a similar story on a larger scale. 

After bars and restaurants closed dine-in service in March, the majority of the traditional sales rep. job description disappeared. Spring and summer festivals were cancelled one after the other. Draft sales dropped to nothing. Besides pivoting to kitchen work and other odd jobs to support the brewery, sales reps like myself had to get creative. We rely heavily on face-to-face communication in the craft beer industry—it’s all about establishing and maintaining the relationship with buyers and accounts. 

But when do we go back into the market now that the state is opening again? When is it safe to visit other businesses and actually interact—to reconnect those important relationships? How do you measure personal safety on one hand and the success of a business on the other? Because, while beer is not an essential product to actually survive as a human being, it is the lifeblood of over 400 small businesses in the state of Michigan. 

I can say that the Michigan brewery sales representatives know each other pretty well; in fact, we prefer to help each other out and many of us have close friendships outside of work. Because of this, all of us reps have been debating the above questions for the last three months. We normally operate with calendars that have been scheduled with travel, lodging, events, and sales strategy one, two, three months ahead at a time. We are go-go-go, always-on-the-move people. Now, we are planning week-by-week, twiddling our thumbs and getting used to being the most sedentary we have ever been. Communication and connecting has been challenging as well, and we are taking our cues from distributors and accounts directly to see what they are comfortable with. Personally, I have tried a bit of everything—emails, texts, phone calls, Zoom meetings, and even custom ‘Hello, hope you’re swell’ Beards postcards. Recently, I have dipped my toe back into the market in Beards’ hometown by visiting neighboring businesses and dropping off samples. It has all been fine, but it has changed so much. A conversational pleasantry is not just ‘Hello’ anymore, it’s “Are you okay with me coming in?”, “I’m wearing a mask, but where would you like me to stand and speak with you safely?”, “Can I hand you this product sheet?” It is clear that there is no universal policy for selling beer safely. It is on every individual rep’s shoulders to balance the responsibility of safety and doing their job. 

covid-19

But we are used to being flexible in the beer industry. The market changes and we adapt. This is just a bigger challenge than we ever expected, and who knew there was something bigger to battle than seltzer? Looking at this as an opportunity, the craft brewery industry in Michigan can and will survive this. 

Getting creative, becoming more flexible, and pushing business models forward will help sustain us here in the market as well as in the taproom. Beards is forging ahead and launching a monthly beer subscription ‘Milk Route,’ with subscribers receiving different Beards products throughout the month on a weekly basis. We also have products coming down the line that are newer avenues we are excited to pursue.  

COVID-19 has definitely been a challenge so far, but we can use it to expand upon our core principles of community, hospitality, and innovation—all while diversifying revenue. And since Michigan has always prided itself on buying and supporting local, we are confident we will have the support needed to make it through this pandemic. It will be another learning experience for all of us, but I think we can meet the challenge. After all, our consumers are not merely customers, they are enthusiasts. As much as we care about the product and the experience, so do they. 

 

upper hand

ESCANABA, Mich. – A taste of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is headed to the Mitten.

Upper Hand Brewery, a division of Bell’s Brewery, will end its drought of availability below the Mackinac Bridge. Beginning this fall, Upper Hand will begin distribution of its beer to the Lower Peninsula.

“When we started this adventure more than five years ago, we wanted to give everyone another reason to come and enjoy the beauty and culture of the U.P.,” said Larry Bell, founder and president of Bell’s Brewery. “That mission has not changed. We are just sharing more of what makes the Upper Peninsula special and will hopefully entice more people to make the trek up here and experience this beer where it’s meant to be enjoyed.”

“Every can, every pour, is another invitation to that experience. Our goal is still to bring people up north. Now, everyone will have one less excuse not to sample a taste of what the U.P. has to offer,” Bell added.

Upper Hand will ship initially to Northern Michigan in September, where Griffin Beverage and H. Cox & Son will handle distribution.  Additional distributors and territories will follow in 2021.

Upper Hand Brewery will begin Northern Lower Peninsula distribution with its three most popular year-round brands: UPA (Upper Peninsula Ale), Upper Hand IPA, and Upper Hand Light, with additional brands to follow.

Join Upper Hand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as their website for the latest news and updates.

 

ABOUT UPPER HAND® LIGHT

Keep it simple with the U.P.’s own light lager. Upper Hand® Light is crisp, crushable, and delicious: all day, any day, and every day.

4.2% alcohol by volume

Available Year-Round – Cans and Draft

 

ABOUT UPA®

Our flagship and firstborn, UPA® is our go-anywhere, do-anything, back-to-basics pale ale. Timeless and traditional, some things are classics for a reason.

5.5% alcohol by volume

Available Year-Round – Cans and Draft

 

ABOUT Upper Hand® IPA

Equal parts bitter and bright, Upper Hand® IPA is fresh, flavorful, and perfectly balanced. Our commitment to quality, value, and consistency.

7.0% alcohol by volume

Available Year-Round – Cans and Draft

Find more information about distribution below the bridge here.

ABOUT UPPER HAND BREWERY:

Upper Hand Brewery is a crew of hikers, campers, dog-walkers, anglers, hunters, bikers, and folks that just want to get out there. We believe that life’s mission is to do what you love, where you love, with the people you love. For us, that means brewing the best beer we can, in the best place on Earth: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

We put a lot of thought into brewing beer that reflects what we love about where we live. We have the unique opportunity to try and capture an experience—a sense of place—in each and every beer, and we take it seriously. That’s not to say we don’t have a lot of fun. The U.P. is full of adventures and we love making beer that makes those adventures even better.

A little more about us: our founder—Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery—had always dreamed of opening a brewery in the Upper Peninsula. Little clues of those dreams can be found in many of the classic Bell’s brands, which pay tribute to the U.P. in their names and label artwork. His dream became a reality when we broke ground on our 20-barrel brewhouse in 2013, and we haven’t looked back since.

 

blushing padre

Belgian Style Ale Fermented with Raspberries Aged in Tequila Barrels – available this month

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  Founders Brewing Co. has announced Blushing Padre as the next release in the Mothership Series. To create Blushing Padre, Founders introduced their Belgian-style raspberry ale to a tequila barrel and wound up with what can only be described as a love affair. Made with tart and luscious raspberry jam character, Blushing Padre is balanced beautifully thanks to time spent aging in tequila barrels.

BLUSHING PADRE“We found out that fruit beers in tequila barrels worked out pretty well during our Más Agave trials a few years back.” Said Brewmaster, Jeremy Kosmicki. “It seemed pretty logical to experiment with some of our other full-flavored fruit creations and Blushing Monk immediately came to mind. Spending a year in the tequila barrels softened some of the sweet/tart expressions from the raspberries, took the edge off of the clove and banana characters from the Belgian yeast and added an extra layer of complexity from the oak and tequila, creating a bold yet balanced drinking experience.”

The taproom Mothership Series is an ultra-limited, brew team favorite beer series originally only available at the Founders taprooms…until now. Whether it is an old standby brought out of retirement or an experimental new style, it’s sure to go quickly. The previous Mothership beers have included: Detroit, Double IPA, Devil Dancer, French Toast Bastard, Oktoberfest, Pale Joe, Mucho Lupu, Cerise, Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Panther Cub, MF Donkey Stout, Sleeper Cell and Red’s Rye IPA.

Blushing Padre (10.8%) will have a retail price of $20/6-pack and will be available in bottles and on draft. The beer will be available at the Grand Rapids and Detroit taprooms on July 15, and across the distribution network except for MS and UT.

 

About Founders Brewing Co.

Established in 1997 by two craft beer enthusiasts—Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens—with day jobs and a dream, Founders Brewing Co. brews complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics and tons of flavor. Founders ranks among the top 10 largest craft breweries in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing. The brewery has received numerous awards from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival and RateBeer and BeerAdvocate users often rate its beers among the best in the world. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders is a member of the Michigan Brewers Guild. For more information, visit foundersbrewing.com or follow Founders on TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

solera

The foeder-aged ale utilizes a technique that blends old and young into an ever-evolving beer

 

Holland, Mich.  — New Holland Brewing Company has announced the next member of the Dragon’s Milk family, Dragon’s Milk Solera, a 10% ABV foeder-aged ale that emphasizes the passage of time. By implementing a method where a flow of fresh beer influences the base solera, Dragon’s Milk Solera achieves a drinking experience that’s simultaneously consistent and ever-changing.

soleraThe solera aging method could best be described as fractional blending. Beginning with a master batch, New Holland ages Dragon’s Milk Solera in massive oak foeders and gradually pulls down the line until reaching the final foeder, blending a pool of beer from different generations. The beer’s average age will increase before hitting an eventual equilibrium, becoming more layered and complex. Each pull from the solera will contain a small bit of the original batch, allowing Dragon’s Milk fans to follow this beer as it evolves.

“We plan to label each batch with the pull number so drinkers can join us on the journey,” Brand Manager Dominic Berquist said. “The aging and blending brings our brewers and cellarman a new set of challenges, but they have more than risen to the occasion and we’re very excited by the results.”

In a glass, Dragon’s Milk Solera presents a gorgeous mahogany hue. An oaky and subtly sweet nose draws the drinker in for a sip where beguiling flavors of caramel, toffee and fig coalesce into a beer best savored amongst good company. Crack open a couple with friends and watch the Dragon’s Milk legend unfold.

“We’ve researched the history and lore behind the term ‘Dragon’s Milk’ and have actually found references to it as early as the mid-1500s in England,” Bergquist said. “Dragon’s Milk was used to describe a wide variety of potent ales and elixirs that were worthy of celebration, and Solera absolutely lives up to that expectation. It’s an exciting new chapter in the legend of Dragon’s Milk and we can’t wait for our fans to try this brew.”

Dragon’s Milk Solera will be available year round in four-pack 12 oz bottles and on draft in select states beginning in August. A limited amount of this beer will be available for online pre-order starting at 11am on July 18. The release coincides with another New Holland brand, Hazy River, a one hundred percent Citra-hopped New England Style IPA with a huge citrus aroma and taste.

Pick up will take place at the Knickerbocker and New Holland production facility on Saturday, August 1 from 11-6pm. For more information on Dragon’s Milk Solera and the pre-order, please visit www.dragonsmilk.com.

 

About Dragon’s Milk

Throughout the ages, Dragon’s Milk has been a term used to describe potent ales and elixirs worthy of a celebration, a reward at the end of the journey. New Holland Brewing Co. is proud to continue that tradition today with the Dragon’s Milk family of brands. What began as a single barrel in the back of the brewhouse in 2001 has now become a line of legendary brews, including Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout, the #1 best selling stout in America. For more information, visit www.dragonsmilk.com or follow on Facebook and Instagram.

beer month

LANSING, Mich – Legislators in Lansing have recently declared July as “Michigan Beer Month” with the introduction of House Resolution No. 289 and Senate Resolution No. 131, noting the brewing industry’s long-standing history, impact on both the tourism and agricultural interests and the ongoing contributions to the overall economy of the state.

According to Scott Graham, Executive Director of the Michigan Brewers Guild:

  • Michigan breweries are a vibrant affirmation and expression of Michigan’s entrepreneurial traditions, operating as community-based small businesses and providing more than 21,000 full time jobs;
  • Our state has breweries in every region of the state with more than 400 statewide;
  • Michigan ranks sixth in the nation for the overall number of breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs;
  • The Michigan Brewers Guild celebrates locally-made beer by hosting its Summer Beer Festival in July – one of five annual events held around the state;
  • The Guild is looking for creative ways to celebrate Michigan Beer Month with its breweries and the community this year, given the unfortunate cancellation due to COVID-19 concerns;
  • Brewers in Michigan support state agriculture by purchasing hops, malted barley, wheat, beet sugar, cherries, apples, and numerous other fruits, herbs, spices, and vegetables grown in Michigan, along with water sourced from the Great Lakes Region;
  • Michigan brewers promote a spirit of independence through a renaissance in locally produced beers like those first brought to the state by European settlers and produced here by our forefathers, including Bernhard Stroh, for the enjoyment of the citizenry;
  • Striving to educate legal drinking age residents, Michigan brewers convey awareness about the differences in beer flavor, aroma, color, alcohol content, body, and other complex variables, beer history, and gastronomic qualities of beer;
  • Michigan brewers champion the message of responsible enjoyment to their customers and work within their communities to prevent alcohol abuse and underage drinking;
  • Breweries in Michigan produce more than 100 distinct styles of flavorful beers, the quality and diversity of which have made Michigan the envy of many states, contributing to the balanced trade with increased Michigan exports and promoting Michigan tourism;
  • the brewing industry in Michigan has seen great growth and success, and contribute more than $872 million in labor income with a total economic contribution of more than $2.5 billion, thriving and expanding to further their economic importance to the state;
  • Michigan brewers are vested in the future, health, and welfare of their communities as employers providing a diverse array of quality local jobs. They are contributors to the local tax base and are committed partners for a broad range of local, regional, and state non-profit organizations and other philanthropic causes;
  • The Michigan Brewers Guild is a passionate beer community that believes in quality artisanship, bold character, fun, responsibility and pushing the boundaries while promoting and protecting the Michigan beer industry with an overarching goal to help locally brewed beer attain 20 percent of all beer sales in the state by 2020.

“We recognize the contributions that Michigan craft brewers and breweries have made to the state’s communities, economy, and history,” states the proclamations, “and be it further resolved that we commend Michigan breweries for providing jobs, improving the balance of trade, supporting Michigan agriculture, and educating residents about the history and culture of beer while promoting the responsible consumption of beer as a beverage of moderation.”

Formed in 1997, the Michigan Brewers Guild held its first festival in July 1998. Today, it hosts five festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan beer produced by its nearly 300 member breweries (a number that increases on a monthly basis). Within the state, and beyond, Michigan is referred to as “The Great Beer State.”

black is beautiful

COMSTOCK, Mich. – Bell’s Brewery is proud to announce that it has joined the Black is Beautiful initiative; an effort to help bring awareness to the injustices many people of color face daily.

The Black is Beautiful initiative originated with Marcus Baskerville, founder and head brewer at Weathered Souls Brewing based in San Antonio. Originally planned as a Weathered Souls-only release, Baskerville was encouraged to expand his reach and make the recipe and label artwork available to all.

“We all have some work to do, Bell’s included, and we are committed to that. It starts on an individual level. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to continue this conversation and help drive real change,” Larry Bell, president and founder of Bell’s Brewery said.

There are currently more than 700 breweries from across the globe committed to this initiative.

Bell’s version of the Weathered Souls Imperial Stout recipe will be released in 6-pack bottles exclusively at Bell’s General Store in downtown Kalamazoo and Upper Hand Brewery Taproom in August.

“Our mission is to bridge the gap that’s been around for ages and provide a platform to show that the brewing community is an inclusive place for everyone of any color. We are asking for all breweries and brewers far and wide to raise a glass with us in unison and participate in this collaboration,” a statement on the Black is Beautiful website reads.

As part of this initiative, Bell’s will make donations to two local Black-led organizations; the Kalamazoo NAACP and Face Off Theatre.

This collaboration brew, while sharing some of the same values, is not part of Bell’s Celebration Series. That series, which empowers different groups within the company that makes Bell’s what it is, will continue later this year with another beer designed and brewed by Bell’s employees.

That next release, which will come from and celebrate Bell’s Black and African American employees, will be released in the fall.

Previous brews have celebrated International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day, the LGBTQ+ community and veterans.

Additional details about Bell’s participation in the Black is Beautiful initiative will be announced as they become available on Bell’s website and social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Upper Hand Brewery is a division of Bell’s Brewery, located in Escanaba, Michigan.

 

ABOUT BELL’S BREWERY

Bell’s Brewery, Inc. began in 1985 with a quest for better beer and a 15 gallon soup kettle. Since then, we’ve grown into a regional craft brewery that distributes to 41 states, in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington DC. The dedication to brewing flavorful, unfiltered, quality craft beers that started in 1985 is still with us today. We currently brew over 20 beers for distribution as well as many other small batch beers that are served at our pub in Kalamazoo, the Eccentric Cafe. Our ongoing goal is to brew thoughtfully, creatively and artistically. 100% family-owned and independent, we strive to bring an authentic and pleasant experience to all of our customers through our unique ales and lagers. For more information, please visit bellsbeer.com.

li grand zombi

The concept will feature a rotating selection of Creole inspired dishes

 

Grand Rapids, Mich.  — City Built Brewing Company has announced a Creole-inspired alter ego, Li Grand Zombi, named for the sacred serpent spirit worshipped among voodooists. The takeout/delivery pop-up restaurant is part play on the ghost kitchen trend, part embrace of Louisiana style of cooking where West African, French, Spanish and Haitian influences meet.

“One of our taglines is ‘Where Cultures Collide,’”City Built CEO Ed Collazo said. “This is another opportunity to highlight a different culture whose cuisine we enjoy.”

After spending time eating his way across New Orleans and absorbing techniques, City Built head chef Kyle Murray returned eager to reinterpret what he’d tasted. Those ever wowed by a City Built taco can anticipate the same standard of perfection. Li Grand Zombi’s menu will focus on quality before quantity featuring just one item at a time that rotates on a weekly basis.

li grand zombieFirst up is the delectable house-made and house-smoked spicy andouille sausage served with red beans and rice. Accoutrements include house-made cornbread with a serrano-garlic honey butter and a side of fried okra.

Foodies can expect other Creole classics like jambalaya, gumbo, po boys and more. While the concept is certainly a pivot from City Built’s Puerto Rican fare, Collazo sees a throughline between the two cuisines.

“The story’s the same: you have a marginalized group of people that have made the most of what’s available to them. White rice and beans are pretty cheap but they spice it up to make something really simple really grand,” Collazo said.

Thursday through Saturday, Li Grand Zombi will be available for takeout and through Uber Eats, GrubHub and DoorDash. For those ordering in, it’s a way to experience what’s coming out of the City Built kitchen from the comfort of home. Those who make it down to Monroe Avenue can look forward to “Social Zones” with beer, a food cart, yard games and barrels to hang around—a pandemic proof party.

Li Grand Zombi aims to bring The Big Easy’s energy to Grand Rapids.

“We’re excited to take advantage of this opportunity to do something different and fun,” Collazo said.

 

About City Built Brewing Company 

Cities are where cultures collide. Ideas get remixed. Societal shifts start. Old traditions combine and become new trends. City Built Brewing Company strives to reflect that energy in their innovative beer recipes and methods, and in their Puerto Rican inspired food served in their downtown Grand Rapids taproom. Visit them and learn how they make the strange familiar, and the familiar fresh and bold. Follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter.

delta series

News series is inspired by the local brewing history

 

ESCANABA, Mich. – Upper Hand Brewery is proud to announce the upcoming release of its Delta Series, six beers inspired by the historical Delta Brewing Company.

The beers, which will be available in cans and on draft, are based on real brands and styles brewed by Delta Brewing Company in the City of Escanaba between 1933 and 1940.  The cans feature artistic elements from the original beer labels and descriptions based on newspaper advertisements found in the archives of the Delta County Historical Society.

“We have been inspired by the rich history of brewing in Escanaba since we opened Upper Hand in 2014,” said Upper Hand Brewery Director, Sam Reese.  “These Delta Brewing brands really captured a time and place that isn’t altogether unfamiliar today, and in a lot of ways, they accomplished what we have always tried to do from our onset, which is to establish the U.P. as an iconic place to both brew and enjoy great beer.”

“After digging through the archives at the Delta County Historical Society, we saw an opportunity to resurrect some of these prohibition-era styles and present them to a new audience of beer lovers using some old-world ingredients and methods we don’t usually explore.”

The first brand in the Delta Series, Peninsula Pride, ships throughout Delta, Alger, Schoolcraft, and Luce counties beginning June 15, 2020.  The remaining brands—including Pioneer Extra Pale, Arctic Club, Hunter Special, Buckingham Ale, and Old Delta Bock—will be released progressively through the end of the year.

Delta Brewing Company’s Victorian-style commercial building, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, is located at 1615 Ludington St. in downtown Escanaba.

 

ABOUT PENINSULA PRIDE CREAM ALE:

Clean, light, and classic with a snappy modern hop foundation.

4.6% alcohol by volume

Available in 12oz cans

Shipping the week of June 15, 2020

ABOUT PIONEER EXTRA PALE CLASSIC AMERICAN PILSNER:

Pre-prohibition-style American Pilsner with floor-malted Bohemian malt and old-world hop varietals.

5.2% alcohol by volume

Available on draft and in 12oz cans

Shipping the week of July 20, 2020

ABOUT ARCTIC CLUB ICE BEER:

Dry, bubbly, light-colored lager with mildly elevated ABV.  A peak summer celebratory specialty.

6.0% alcohol by volume

Available on draft and in 12oz cans

Shipping the week of August 31, 2020

 

ABOUT HUNTER SPECIAL BAVARIAN-STYLE LAGER:

Balanced and refreshing Festbier featuring premium Bavarian hops and malt.

5.5% alcohol by volume

Available on draft and in 12oz cans

Shipping the week of October 12, 2020

ABOUT BUCKINGHAM ALE ENGLISH MILD:

Low ABV, moderately malty, sociable, historically-accurate English pub-style ale.

3.8% alcohol by volume

Available on draft and in 12oz cans

Shipping the week of November 23, 2020

ABOUT OLD DELTA BOCK BEER:

Malty, mid-sweet brown lager with a sturdy ABV.  The traditional and renowned mid-winter accompaniment.

6.5% alcohol by volume

Available on draft and in 12oz cans

Shipping the week of January 4, 2021

 

ABOUT UPPER HAND BREWERY: 

Upper Hand Brewery is a crew of hikers, campers, dog-walkers, anglers, hunters, bikers, and folks that just want to get out there. We believe that life’s mission is to do what you love, where you love, with the people you love. For us, that means brewing the best beer we can, in the best place on Earth: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

We put a lot of thought into brewing beer that reflects what we love about where we live. We have the unique opportunity to try and capture an experience—a sense of place—in each and every beer, and we take it seriously. That’s not to say we don’t have a lot of fun. The U.P. is full of adventures and we love making beer that makes those adventures even better.

A little more about us: our founder—Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery—had always dreamed of opening a brewery in the Upper Peninsula. Little clues of those dreams can be found in many of the classic Bell’s brands, which pay tribute to the U.P. in their names and label artwork. His dream became a reality when we broke ground on our 20-barrel brewhouse in 2013, and we haven’t looked back since.

Find Upper Hand Brewery online at www.upperhandbrewery.com, as well as FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.