Elk Rapids, Mich. – Short’s Brewing Company is excited to announce their 2018 flagship and seasonal lineup, in addition to their fearlessly creative specialty beers that will be released through the first quarter.

short's

The lineup includes their five flagships beers, Soft Parade, Huma Lupa Licious, Local’s Light, Bellaire Brown, and Space Rock, along with a new expanded seasonal lineup to include two rotating seasonal selections available at any given time in Michigan. Select rotating seasonals will also be available in the greater Short’s distribution area of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. New seasonals will be introduced in this lineup including the fan-favorite former specialty release Superfluid, and 2017’s summer draft hit Soft Parade Shandy.

“We took a hard look at our massively delicious specialty portfolio and dug up some pretty amazing beer to make this lineup extra special. Some of the brands are oldie yet goodies, and others are new innovations. I am personally giddy about this stash!” said Short’s Sales Manager, Pauline Knighton-Preuter.

The remaining specialty releases will be announced throughout 2018 so that Short’s may remain flexible to customer feedback and their brewers’ yet to be determined creative ideas. Stay tuned to the Short’s Facebook Page and the 2018 Release Schedule for all updates.

anheuser-busch

ESCANABA, Mich. – Upper Hand Brewery is excited to announce packaging changes from twelve-ounce bottles to twelve-ounce cans beginning in Spring 2018. The cans, packaged in six-packs and specialty four-packs, will feature a new look that pays homage to the original labels, while establishing a stronger tie to their Upper Peninsula roots.

“Part of the allure of living in and visiting the U.P. is the amazing opportunities for outdoor recreation. Cans can go more places than bottles – whether exploring the trails, campgrounds, or beaches, we want our fans to feel comfortable bringing us along on their adventures,” said Laura Bell, CEO of Bell’s and Upper Hand Breweries.

The switch from bottles to cans also comes with a change to Upper Hand’s beer portfolio. Flagship brands UPA, Yooper Ale and Escanaba Black Beer will remain a part of the year-round brews offered by Upper Hand Brewery. In addition, an all-malt light lager, dubbed Upper Hand Light, will join the year- round brands upon their release scheduled for March. Upper Hand will release its first IPA in Summer 2018. The IPA, with a name to be determined, will join the four aforementioned brands in year-round production.

upper hand

Seasonal and specialty favorites Laughing Fish, 906 Ale and Double Ringer will be available in cans only upon their 2018 and 2019 releases. Upper Hand will continue draught offerings for its core brands, seasonal offerings, and select specialty beers.

 

ABOUT UPPER HAND BREWERY

Brewed on a 20-barrel system in Escanaba, Michigan, our beers celebrate the beauty and uniqueness of the north and our community. We may be a young brewery, but our roots run deep. Upper Hand beers are available throughout the Upper Peninsula, Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. We brew our beer in the North, where it is meant to be enjoyed. We invite you to visit and enjoy not only our beer, but the wonder and beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

 

LANSING, Mich – A record number 92 Michigan craft breweries will be serving up more than 588 beers on Saturday, September 9 at the Michigan Brewers Guild’s 9th Annual U.P. Fall Beer Festival at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette.

Tickets are available online now and are $40 in advance (and $45 at the gate, if any remain available). Admission includes 15 tasting tokens, each good for a three-ounce sample. Additional tokens are 50-cents each.

In addition to online tickets, a handful of outlets around Marquette also have tickets for sale for $40—including Blackrocks BreweryMarquette Food Co-OpOre Dock Brewing and The Vierling.

The Michigan Brewers Guild is the network of innovative and passionate brewers that serves as the recognized advocate for the Michigan craft beer industry. The mission of the Michigan Brewers Guild is to promote and protect the Michigan craft beer industry with an overarching goal to help craft beer acquire 20% of the market by 2025.

 Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

#MiBeer #MiBeer20Years #DrinkMiBeer #GreatBeerState #UPFBF17

 

 

short's fest

“Today is obviously a beautiful day,” said Eric Tranchell, Beer Liberator for Short’s Brewing Company.

August 5th was, in fact, a perfect day for the brewery’s annual Short’s Fest: blue skies, 70 degrees, and plenty of beer on tap. Held against the backdrop of the Elk Rapids production facility, it was a casual summer gathering compared to the spring rave of an anniversary that happens every April at the original pub and brewery in Bellaire.

short's fest

It had a different feel, first of all. It was still a celebration of Short’s beer, but everything was less frenzied, more contained and more intimate. It was like attending a neighbor’s backyard barbeque.

The production facility, more fondly known as the “pull barn,” has  become a spot for summer pit stops. Trying something new, Short’s opened its Elk Rapids grounds to patrons for casual evening eats, Short’s and Starcut Ciders beverages, and facility tours. It has been a great success and has bonded the company with the Elk Rapids community even further.

This more casual gathering was a breath of fresh air following the previous week’s announcement of Short’s new partnership with Lagunitas, which created quite a frenzy in the Michigan craft beer world.

The Short’s staff at the Elk Rapids celebration were generally excited and glad to be together for a night, serving beer and toasting another summer amidst local patrons.

“There are a lot of unknowns for Short’s right now, but Short’s has always been good with unknowns. It just means a lot of possibilities,” said Tranchell.

Owner Joe Short was spotted scaling one of the beer trucks, maybe to better take in the crowd and enjoy the festivities.

“We never imagined Short’s was going to be this big,” said Tranchell, “and now we have a big family to take care of—and I mean every Short’s employee. And Joe himself has told me that he is responsible for every person here. He wants to know everyone is taken care of, from top to bottom.”

That united front of Short’s staff—their family—was what made the atmosphere of Short’s Fest so relaxed and welcoming.

“Short’s Fest is the pinnacle of summer,” said Emily Sullivan, marketing communication associate for the company.

Short’s beers and Starcut Ciders flowed from multiple stations on the fest grounds. Favorites of the evening were Always on Vacation, a beautiful and simple session IPA, and Gose Good With Wood, a French oak passion fruit Gose that was a perfect blend of tart, salty, and fruity. Fest-goers also had the opportunity to purchase the specialty bomber release of She Uses Tangerine, a Belgian Strong Ale made with tangerines.

short's fest

Music for the night featured Red Herring, The Mark Lavengood Band, The Go Rounds, and Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers.

Short’s Fest always takes place in conjunction with Elk Rapids Harbor Days, and tonight the last call for beer coincided with the town’s fireworks display over the harbor.

Short’s Brewing Company has lived by the mantra, “stay awesome hungry” over their 13 years of existence.

“Tonight,” Sullivan said, “I feel ‘awesome fed.’”

 

Photography: Kaitlyn Rickman

beards brewery

The first time I ventured out to Beards, I nearly missed it driving through downtown Petoskey. The sign was relatively small on an easy-to-miss building. The brewery itself was tucked in the back of a building, down a stone path in what looked like an enclosed outdoor space. The taproom was small, cozy, full of board games, and a record player was playing in the background. It felt like a secret you only wanted your good friends to know about.

Fast-forward five years, and Beards has become a staple in the Petoskey community. Now on the corner of US-31 and Lake Street, the brewery resides in the former Whitecaps building and is one of the first things you encounter as you enter downtown.

beards brewery

And while the space is larger, feels more expansive, and has extraordinary views, it maintains a similar atmosphere as the original space.

“We wanted to keep as much of the old place as we could,” said Ben Slocum, Beards co-founder.

Upon entering, a stone path that pays tribute to the original guides you to the taproom surrounded in natural elements. And, if you look closely, you might be able to spot the original bar and large Beards logo.

At the same time, the new space on Lake Street feels more “grown-up” with intimate booths, more community tables, and a grand staircase. There’s also an opportunity to escape upstairs to a more intimate space, where the board games and vinyl records can still be found.

The move from a small, intimate space to a large, inviting one exemplifies Beards five-year journey. Starting on a one-barrel brewing system, Beards had a humble beginning. Word spread quickly about the excellent beer and atmosphere, and after just two years, a 4,000 square foot production facility was opened in Charlevoix. The production facility contains a 15-barrel system and has allowed Beards to expand its production and distribution.

“We sold more on July 2 than we did during all of our winter months combined,” said Slocum, referencing their continuous growth and expansion.

Beards is now canning and can now be found throughout Northern Michigan, the Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids area, and throughout Wayne County. Recently, Beards released its first bomber: Gin Barrel Aged Luna.

beards brewery

And now that the brewery has taken over an old restaurant and has more space, it also features a full food menu. As much as possible is made in house, from brat buns to braised lamb shank, which compliments everything Beards has become known for.

“We craft beer, why not craft food?” said Slocum.

Beards will officially be celebrating its five years of success from August 17-19; the new taproom is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11a.m. to midnight.

 

Elk Rapids, Mich. – Short’s Brewing Company of Bellaire and Elk Rapids, MI announces plans to partner with The Lagunitas Brewing Company based in Petaluma, CA, America’s ninth largest brewery.

The partnership stems from Short’s desire to successfully navigate the ever-evolving craft market while maintaining its creatively fearless identity. Lagunitas’ 19.99% equity stake in Short’s will be managed by Lagunitas U.S. Holdings — or LUSH. The founding principle of LUSH is to build relationships with, and support, regional breweries. In keeping with this, Short’s will maintain their individual brand image while gaining additional resources for continued opportunity to invest in Short’s staff, the Northern Michigan community, and opportunities to push the boundaries of creativity.

Joe Short stated, ”I never imagined Short’s would become such a successful regional brewery. The secret to that success has always been to surround myself with good people. The best people; who in many ways are smarter and more talented than myself. I’m confident all successful businesses would tell you a similar story. This partnership with Lagunitas is just another part of evolution in the cycle of our dynamic and growing business. I’ve grown so much personally and professionally during my time at the helm of Short’s Brewing Company that I understand now, more than ever – the continued success of Short’s and its people rely on me to make smart and strategic decisions. This is just one of them.”

When asked about the partnership between Short’s and Lagunitas, Lagunitas’ founder, Tony Magee, stated, “Having Joe and Scott and all their talented people joining up with the LUSH group is mostly cool but also kinda weird. Have you met those guys? I thought Bellaire was in Canada…”

The craft brewing community has always focused on relationships, and Short’s is excited for the opportunity to be a part of the LUSH community. “Pride, passion, and love of the work will always remain paramount. I’m super excited and proud because for the first time EVER, we’ll be operating without restriction, experiencing what true independence feels like,” stated Short. “I really admire Tony. His vision and level of understanding of the industry is fascinating to me. With his ability to share Lagunitas’ 24 years of experience, this partnership is going to bring some serious awesomeness to the people of Short’s.”

cheboygan brewing

“Today is a slammed day,” says Brian Lindsay, brewer at Cheboygan Brewing Company (CBC).

It’s packaging day at CBC, meaning hundreds of cases of empty cans have just been dropped off, filling the brewery from floor to ceiling. It’s a veritable maze of Blueberry Wheat, Lighthouse Amber, and of course, Blood Orange Honey.

These beers are well known on the Michigan craft market and are the primary bread-winners for the brewery who does the majority of their business in distribution. Established in 2011, CBC rocks out their beer recipes on 15 barrel and 30 barrel brew systems. Blood Orange Honey, their top seller, has its own corner in the brewery with two dedicated 30 barrel brite tanks.

“We have 600 cases going out every two weeks,” says Lindsay.

They have a small, but mighty production team whose primary responsibility is to keep churning out consistent and delicious distributed recipes.

cheboygan brewing

Mike Eme, Brian Lindsay, Doug Mehl and Phil Davey

But 2017 has seen new, exciting changes to the brewery team and their future aspirations. Mike Eme, head of brewery operations, has brought on Brian Lindsay and Doug Mehl to start shaking things up. While keeping to their majority distribution beers, the next era at CBC will also be concentrating on exploring new recipes and projects.

Kickstarting this new campaign, CBC has gotten their hands on a glorious little nano system. And already, recipe experimentation is happening!

“We have our core paycheck beers, but these experimental small batches are the beers that inspire the brewers,” says Eme.

Also, “the majority of the beer is going out the door, so it’s nice to have a small system to experiment with new recipes. We have a series coming up, all made with Centennial hops,” says Lindsay. “The first one is called Censible,” a solid Pale Ale that has gone over really well in the front of the house taproom. Already working on the next in the series, “Censeless” will literally be the big brother to Censible, coming in at a whopping 11%.

Another small batch brew, an IPA made with southern Australian hops called Constant Reminder, was inspired by the alarms set for frequent hop additions happening in five-minute increments (also it was Brian’s wedding beer, a constant reminder of his wife).

Lindsay teases other potential, upcoming recipes that have been inspired by his research into unique ingredients. He mentions a strawberry Saison, tropical Brown Ales, Sour Ales made with a souring honey, a margarita Gosé, and a mojito cocktail beer.

“When you have 31 gallons and it turns out to be god-awful, it’s not going to hurt you,” he says, laughing.

These new recipes are building up excitement across the board. In the taproom, locals and regular pub-goers who have loyally been drinking CBC’s standard recipes are intrigued with the new flavors and offerings. On the distribution side of things, these small batch offerings are garnering attention at events.  

Phil Davey, the head of sales and distribution for CBC, is excited for the growth. “We’re really stepping up our event game with pairing dinners and tastings.”

All around Michigan one can find CBC beers, and it’s really worth attending a special event. Not only will beer drinkers get to drink some of their traditional favorites, but usually it’s a great opportunity to try out a new recipe. Events are some of the best platforms for testing out new product. And if fans can’t make it up to the brewery in Cheboygan, events are great just because they reach everyone.

This summer though, it’s definitely worth checking out their original home in downtown Cheboygan. Patrons can enjoy a pint or two while watching the production staff work on the brew system connected to the pub. And it will be just in time for new happenings! The pub is doubling their taps from five to ten—an opportunity to offer both the familiar and the new to customers.

Also, they will be opening their outdoor beer garden for the summer, doubling their capacity and providing a neat space to better experience Cheboygan. And while they don’t offer food, plenty of local vendors share the space to ensure delicious offerings that pair well with the local brews.

cheboygan brewing

Summer is the high season for up north towns such as Cheboygan. They are destinations for breathtaking views, escapes into nature, small town hospitality, local food, and some of the best local beer.

“Their number one call in the summer is ‘where’s the brewery’ so I like to think we helped get more people coming through town,” says Eme, regarding tourism and the Chamber of Commerce.

Looking back, Eme is thoughtful on the evolution of Michigan breweries in relation to CBC.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And I think that’s why Michigan is doing so well in the industry.”

Indeed, their core beers have paved the way for market recognition, and now their small batches have whet our appetites. We’re going to stick around to see what comes next.

 

nomad ciderTraverse City, Mich— North Peak Brewing Company and Peninsula Cellars have joined forces to create a new joint venture on Old Mission Peninsula. Consistent with the quality and excellence these companies are known for, Nomad Cidery has launched a line of hard ciders in Northern Michigan. Located on Kroupa Farms, a certified Michigan Centennial Farm on Old Mission Peninsula, the cidery focuses on creating small batch ciders from regionally sourced ingredients.

“We’re fortunate to be able to source multiple apple varieties within 5 miles of our press and cidery,” shares John Kroupa, Nomad Cidery partner and sixth generation Old Mission Farmer. “We’re able to craft high quality cider made with all Northern Michigan ingredients. The local orchards and agricultural industry of Traverse City, allow us to create 100% pure cider, without having to rely on concentrates.”

You might recognize the name ‘Nomad’ as the cider first made an appearance in North Peak Brewing Company’s portfolio. The sister company to North Peak was launched to give the cider the dedicated attention the brand deserved. Initially the company will focus on producing distinctly dry ciders that will be available on draft only, with plans for 6-packs to be released at a later date.

Nomad’s premium ciders are available throughout Northern Michigan. Currently they can be found at North Peak, Jolly Pumpkin, and Blue Tractor in Traverse City. As well as at Peninsula Cellars on Old Mission Peninsula.