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craft beer month

 

(LANSING, Mich) – Legislators in Lansing have recently declared July as “Michigan Craft Beer Month” with the introduction of House Resolution No. 135 and Senate Resolution No. 61, 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.

Formed in 1997, the Michigan Brewers Guild operates as the non-profit trade organization representing craft brewing interests around the state. With more than 290 member breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs spread out from coast to coast to coast – throughout both Peninsulas, in rural and urban areas – it’s no wonder Michigan is known as “The Great Beer State.” Currently Michigan ranks #4 nationally for the overall number of breweries, at 350+, according to the Brewers Association.

The highlight of “Michigan Craft Beer Month” is the 22nd Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival, July 26-27 at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town – along the banks of the Huron River. Featuring nearly 150 breweries and more than 1,000 unique beers, this is the largest of the Guild’s four annual festivals (the others being the UP Fall Beer Festival, September 7 in Marquette; Detroit Fall Beer Festival, October 25-26 at Eastern Market in downtown Detroit; and Michigan Winter Beer Festival, February 21-22 at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, just north of downtown Grand Rapids). More than 35,000 people collectively attend the Guild’s annual festivals.

 

SR61 was introduced by Senator MacGregor and HR135 was introduced by Representatives Farrington, Chirkun, Clemente, Crawford, Garza, Gay-Dagnogo, Haadsma, Jones, Kuppa, Lasinski, Love, Manoogian, Sabo, Shannon, Slagh, Sneller and Warren. The House Resolution reads:

Whereas, Michigan craft brewers are a vibrant affirmation and expression of Michigan’s entrepreneurial traditions, operating as community-based small businesses and providing employment for more than 17,000 workers; and

Whereas, Our state has craft brewers in every region of the state and more than 300 craft brewers statewide; and

Whereas, Michigan ranks fifth in the nation for overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs; and

Whereas, The Michigan Brewers Guild celebrates Michigan Craft Beer Month each year by hosting a Summer Festival in July; and

Whereas, Craft 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 here; and

Whereas, Michigan craft brewers promote Michigan’s spirit of independence through a renaissance in handcrafted beers like those first brought to our state by European settlers and produced here by our forefathers, including Bernhard Stroh, for the enjoyment of the citizenry; and

Whereas, Striving to educate legal drinking-age residents, Michigan craft 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; and

Whereas, Michigan craft brewers champion the message of responsible enjoyment to their customers and work within their communities to prevent alcohol abuse and underage drinking; and

Whereas, Craft brewers 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 balanced trade with increased Michigan exports and promoting our state’s tourism; and

Whereas, Michigan craft brewers have shown a successful business model by contributing more than $700 million in labor income with a total economic contribution of more than $2.4 billion, thriving and expanding by furthering their economic importance to the state; and

Whereas, Michigan craft brewers are vested in the future, health, and welfare of their communities as employers providing a diverse array of quality local jobs, as contributors to the local tax base, and as committed sponsors of a broad range of vital community institutions and philanthropic causes, including not-for-profit housing development associations, chambers of commerce, humane societies, athletic teams, and medical research; now, therefore, be it

 

Resolved by the Senate and House, That the members of this legislative body commemorate July 2019 as Craft Beer Month and recognize the contributions that Michigan craft brewers have made to our state’s communities, economy, and history; and be it further

Resolved, That we commend Michigan craft brewers 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.

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.

 

new holland spirits

The Michigan distillery announces plans to expand with new tasting room in scenic Lake Michigan town

 

SAUGATUCK, MICH. — New Holland Spirits has announced it is starting the construction of a new tasting room at 201 Culver Street in the heart of Saugatuck, Michigan. Pending regulatory approvals, the new location is scheduled to open in time for the July 4th celebration downtown.

“New Holland is thrilled to open up our first spirits-focused tasting room in Saugatuck.” said David White, Vice President of Retail Operations and Partner. “As neighbors along the lakeshore, we appreciate the unique atmosphere of Michigan’s coastal communities as destinations for great food and drinks. We can’t wait to become a part of Saugatuck’s vibrant downtown.”

The new tasting room is located across the street from Bowdie’s Chophouse and around the corner from The Butler restaurant. Its prime location in walkable downtown Saugatuck will make it an ideal destination for happy hour cocktails or an after-dinner nightcap.

new holland spiritsGuests will be able to taste and purchase New Holland’s award-winning spirits, including Knickerbocker Gin, Beer Barrel Bourbon and Lake Life Vodka, at the new location. The new space will serve some of New Holland’s most popular cocktails, as well as wine and cider. Select cocktails and limited run spirits will be available on draft. The tasting room will offer some light food options in the form of appetizers brought in from New Holland’s Pub on 8th in Holland, Michigan, including their Famous Beer Cheese and Crackers, Woodsman Platter, Spice Roasted Nuts and Hummus Platter.

Seating for 30 will be available indoors, and there will be 12 seats on the outdoor patio. The new space will be available to book for private events and parties for up to 35 people.

Visitors to the tasting room will be able to take home New Holland spirits in a variety of bottle sizes. Merchandise and cocktail bar essentials will also be available for sale in the retail space, making it a must-stop for the traveler in need of supplies.

New Holland Spirits has been creating fine craft spirits since 2005. The new tasting room in the popular lakeshore vacation destination allows the distillery to expand its footprint and reach a new audience.

“We are very excited to bring our own artistic expressions of craft spirits to Saugatuck’s vibrant art community. Our storefront at 201 Culver Street is easily accessible by car or by boat, and we will provide guests with a wide variety of bottles to go, handcrafted cocktails and a selection of wine and cider,” said Brett VanderKamp, president of New Holland.

two hearted

 

COMSTOCK, Mich. – Bell’s Brewery and two of its beers – Two Hearted Ale and Hopslam Ale – were recognized again in this year’s Best Beers in America survey from Zymurgy magazine.

Two Hearted was No. 1 in the Top-Ranked Beers category and Bell’s in whole was named top brewery.

This is the third consecutive year that Two Hearted has claimed this honor. It came in second to Russian River’s Pliny the Elder for seven straight years previously.

Hopslam Ale also placed in the top-ranked beers list tied at No. 7.

Now running in its 17th year, the survey asks members of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), which publishes Zymurgy, to choose up to five of their favorite commercial beers available for purchase in the U.S.

“Receiving this honor once, twice even was incredible. But a third time? I am speechless and incredibly thankful to the homebrewing community and everyone who has helped make this beer what it is today,” said Larry Bell, president and founder of Bell’s Brewery.

The full Best Beers in America list—which includes complete rankings on all the top beers, breweries and more is available at HomebrewersAssociation.org.

“Being selected as a winner for this esteemed list is no small feat. All of this year’s winners showcase exceptional flavors, expertly crafted by some of the greatest talent in the brewing industry,” said Gary Glass, director of the American Homebrewers Association. “I’d like to extend congratulations to all of this year’s winners and toast to their exemplary beers favorited by homebrewers and beer lovers alike.”

The AHA announced the results of this year’s survey in a press release.

“It is an honor to once again be awarded the top-ranking spots among so many great breweries and beers,” said John Mallett, Director of Operations at Bell’s Brewery. “Only the best Centennial hops, a commitment to quality by the entire Bell’s team, and the splendor of our home state are all part of the beauty of Two Hearted Ale. There is one other vital component, the beer lover. We are truly humbled to be recognized by the finest palates in homebrewing.”

The American Homebrewers Association has worked on behalf of the homebrewing community since 1978 and celebrates a membership of more than 46,000 homebrewers.

The Bell’s General Store has been supporting homebrewers in Kalamazoo and beyond since the 1980s and even, predates the brewery. Larry Bell founded the company originally as a homebrew supply store in 1983.

For homebrewers interested in replicating some of the winningest beers at home, the AHA provides clone recipes in Zymurgy and online, in the recipes section of the AHA website. Clone recipes for Bell’s beers, including Two Hearted, can be found at bellsbeer.com. Kits can also be purchased on the Bell’s online store.

 

 

tour program

COMSTOCK, Mich. – One of the best brewery tours in the U.S. just got even better.

Bell’s Brewery debuted a handful of improvements that have been in the works for months as part of enhancing its tour program.

Bell’s tour guests can now explore the history of one of the oldest craft brewers east of the Mississippi River with a comprehensive 50-foot timeline. They can also be able to purchase exclusive merchandise and see pieces of Bell’s history like the soup pot that started it all.

Bell’s tour program was voted as one of the best in the country by the readers of USAToday as part of its 10Best series in April. Bell’s finished second and was the only Midwest brewery to make that list.

“These installations will enhance our ability to tell our story with visual elements and pieces of our history – a more complete experience,” said Shelly Claflin, Bell’s Tour Manager. “We’ve literally added a huge splash of color to our tour space with this new timeline exhibit and are very excited to take the visitor experience to the next level. Providing stellar hospitality while sharing the story of Bell’s will continue to be cornerstones of our tour program.”

All tours are free and open to all ages. For those of legal drinking age, samples are included as you browse and learn about Bell’s history.

Other improvements include additional seating, the upcoming addition of a selfie station and plaques detailing the history of fermenters that were once used at the Stroh Brewery Co. in Detroit.

Bell’s tours blend an extensive knowledge of the brewery and craft beer with incredible storytelling as it welcomes tens of thousands of guests every year. The Eccentric Café, Bell’s original brewery in downtown Kalamazoo and its main brewery seven miles east in Comstock, are destinations for craft beer fans from around the world.

Behind-the-scenes brewery tours have also returned for the summer. Guests can tour areas not typically seen on regular tours on Thursday evenings. Reservations for all tours can be made here.

ABOUT THE BELL’S TOUR PROGRAM 

Free tours (all ages welcome) are held Wednesday through Sunday at Bell’s main brewery in Comstock and on weekends at its original downtown Kalamazoo brewery.

Each Comstock tour includes free samples for those 21 and up. Specialty tours are also offered throughout the year. Examples include a Hopslam and Two Hearted focused tour as well as special Reach for the Sun tours on Oberon Release Day. These specialty tours are limited and sell-out fast.

Each Bell’s brewery tour covers the history of Bell’s and brewing throughout the years in addition to sustainability, packaging, ingredients, quality and more.

Free tours can be reserved at bellsbeer.com.

thornapple brewing

Microbrewery, winery, distillery and restaurant to unveil expansion on June 15

 

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Thornapple Brewing Company has announced the grand re-opening of its newly expanded space on 28th Street in Grand Rapids. The microbrewery, winery, distillery and restaurant has added 4,000 square feet to its footprint, allowing room for more guests and more beverages on tap.

The unveiling comes on the brewery’s second anniversary. There will be a party to celebrate the occasion on June 15.

The expansion has doubled the floor space in the brewery’s front of house and comes with 90 additional seats in the taproom.

“We reached a point where expanding was necessary,” said Jeff Coffey, co-owner of Thornapple Brewing Company. “With added space and seating, customers won’t have to wait in line anymore.”

Included in the expansion are a game area with darts and corn hole and a quieter section for those who just want to come in for a beer and conversation while others are enjoying live music on the weekends. The space can also be used for private events hosting up to 100 people.

Thornapple has also added a 14-tap bar, bringing the brewery’s total number of taps to 40. The expansion also comes with a new 400 square foot cooler, which will increase the brewery’s production capacity.

“We’ll be able to have a lot more varieties on tap and get more beer out into distribution,” said Eric Fouch, co-owner.

The anniversary party and grand re-opening will feature live music, indoor and outdoor games and slushie machines with housemade wine and mead slushies.

“Headbrewer Sebastian Henao will have new beers on tap to help fill in those 14 new taps,” Fouch said.

Thornapple will release its first bourbon for the occasion as well.

“The Thornapple Artisan Spirits Bourbon is a very smooth, corn forward, slightly sweet bourbon aged in oak barrels for at least one year,” Fouch said.

Coffey, a native of Green Bay and life-long Packer fan, has decorated the new space with some of his personal Packer memorabilia, including a football signed by Bart Starr. The lounge will feature “up north” themed decor as well.

“Both Eric and I enjoy the great outdoors and like to bring a bit of that to the brewery,” Coffey said.

Guests can watch Packers and Lions games in the new space all season long. All games will be shown on projection TVs.

“The Lions’ home at Thornapple Brewing Company will be in the main seating area and Packers’ home turf will be in the lounge area,” Coffey said.

Thornapple Brewing Company is the area’s only full-service microbrewery, winery, distillery and restaurant.

“We like to do a lot of things, and when we do them, we do them well,” Coffey said. “Most breweries don’t have a distillery, and we’ve got a good one. Our gin is tasty, our vodka is clean. I’ve never heard a bad word about our whiskey, and our bourbon will be the same.”

Three Thornapple beers, two ciders and one perry won awards at national and international competitions this year.

Coffey said Thornapple’s staff is to thank for the brewery’s success in its first two years.

“Our management, servers and kitchen staff work hard together to make sure our customers are happy,” Coffey said.  “On busy nights it’s like an orchestra.”

OXFORD, Mich. — A family-run brewery in small-town Oxford, Michigan, has won gold medals in two international beer competitions. HomeGrown Brewing Company received a gold medal in the World Expo of Beer and a gold medal, bronze medal and the title of Michigan IPA Brewery of the Year at the New York International Beer Competition 2019.

The micro-brewery in Oxford received the top award this week for their Oxford Ale at the World Expo of Beer competition, and last month were awarded gold at the New York-based competition for their Zephyros, a hazy India Pale Ale (IPA) beer, as well as bronze for their Ruck-a-chuk American IPA.

 

Owner and master brewer John Powers says he is extremely proud to have his beer recognized on such a scale. “It’s a tremendous honor,” says Powers. “Our Oxford Ale is one of our flagship brews and our Hazy IPA is one of our most popular seasonalswe might have to make it a permanent feature on our beer menu now.”

Oxford DDA executive director Glenn Pape says the recognition shows the brewery’s dedication to their craft and that the village is proud to be the home of an award-winning brewery.

“Those of us who enjoy the outstanding beer from HomeGrown Brewing Company are very happy to see them getting the recognition they deserve for their outstanding products,” Pape says. “It is businesses like HomeGrown that help to put Oxford on the map.”

The World Expo of Beer, Michigan’s only international competitive beer event, awarded other Michigan stalwarts like Bell’s Brewery, Ellison Brewery and Griffin Claw. With 600 entries, from 14 countries, the NYIBC competition also acknowledged well-known Michigan icon Founders Brewing Co. for several awards and as Michigan Brewery of the Year. For a small, new micro-brewery to claim medals and titles alongside such renowned names is a big deal, says Powers.

“We love that the playing field is level enough for us to compete with established names in the industry,” he says.

HomeGrown’s unique Zephyros brew has a floral aroma, grapefruit notes and uses heavy, late-addition hops (including Galaxy hops from Australia) and is described by the brewery as “Cloudy, with a chance of blowing your mind”. The downside, for the brewers, is that the Zephyros is their most labor-intensive brew, adding up to a 12-hour brew day for each batch.

“It’s a good problem to have,” says Powers.

 

women in beer

Hear the stories of several women as they lead three distinctive businesses in West Michigan

 

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — In celebration of women in Michigan beer, West Michigan Beer Tours is holding its Women of West Michigan Beer Tour.

The bus tour will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, and feature women in leadership roles at a trio relatively new breweries. The tour will be led by our longtime Michigan beer advocates, Andrea Wilson and Bonnie Steinman, a groundbreaking hop farmer in the state.

Bonnie Steinman

 

The tour begins with registration at Paw Paw Brewing Co.’s new location on Gremps St. and heads west to Cognito Brewing Co., located in the historic grain elevator in Bangor. Brewer Jennifer Goodrich, a graduate of Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Sustainable Brewing Program, will lead a tour of the building and share samples with the group. The trip then heads to Saugatuck to see Kim Collins, co-owner and brewer at Guardian Brewing Co., which opened in early 2019. Our tour then finishes the afternoon with a stop at Three Blondes Brewing Co. Fronted by sisters Amanda Johnson, Carrie Troyer and Megan Zernicke, this South Haven brewery opened in the summer of 2018.

Three Blondes Brewing

 

The tour includes a pint or samples at each location, as well as production tours and meet-and-greets with the women behind these emerging breweries. Tickets are $69 per person and include a seat on the bus, complimentary bottled water and snacks on the bus, as well as three samples or a pint at each of the three breweries.

Itinerary Origination: Paw Paw Brewing Co., noon registration with 1 p.m. departure

Stop 1: Cognito Brewing Co., samples, tour with brewer Jennifer Goodrich, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Stop 2: Guardian Brewing Co., samples, tour with owner/brewer Kim Collins, 3-4 p.m.

Stop 3: Three Blondes Brewing Co., samples, meet-and-greet with owners, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Termination: Paw Paw Brewing Co., 6 p.m.

 

 

fermenta

Grand Rapids, Mich. — March is Women’s History Month. International Women’s Day lands on March 8th annually, and since 2013, this day has also marked International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day, or IWCBD. IWCBD was founded by a female group of brewers in the U.K. who came together to collaborate and brew in their local communities. Led by Sophie de Ronde, these ladies decided to take a local idea and make it global to celebrate women and craft across the world.

To spread word of the event across the pond, de Ronde reached out to the Pink Boots Society, a U.S. organization with chapters in many of the 50 states. Denise Ratfield, head of Pink Boots Society’s social media at the time, helped launch IWCBD here in the U.S.

Since then, IWCBD has grown every year, and every year a new brewing theme is announced to challenge brew teams to get creative with ingredients and processes. In past years, recipes have been made to follow such themes as “Unite Exotic” and “Unite Local.” This year’s theme is “Unite Forage,” encouraging the use of wild yeast or local fruit, spices or herbs.

According to the official IWCBD map, over 80 breweries across the world have registered their collaboration brew days. They are joined by social groups, non-profits, local businesses and other craft companies who support the brews and the women making them.

Here in Michigan, there are 18 registered brew days on the official IWCBD calendar, and that’s not including breweries who did not register! These breweries are joined by local non-profits, craft ingredient companies, women’s social groups and more.

This year, one Michigan non-profit is actively promoting more emphasis, encouragement and support into IWCBD: Fermenta: A Women’s Craft Collective. Fermenta has made growing education and awareness for women in the fermented food and beverage industry its mission since the group was founded in 2014.

fermenta

Fermenta’s membership and executive board started reaching out months in advance to breweries and organizations to encourage more participation in 2019’s “Unite Forage’ IWCBD. Most brew days are open to everyone, allowing a chance to learn the brewing process, meet craft industry professionals and network with others. IWCBD encourages participating breweries to invite employees and community members to brew at the facility, bringing women together who are passionate about beer.

Following the footsteps of Pink Boots Society and working alongside other Michigan social groups and networking organizations, Fermenta has confirmed collaboration brew dates at the following breweries*:  

Batch Brewing Company, Beards Brewery, EagleMonk Pub and Brewery, Earthen Ales, Our Brewing Company, Perrin Brewing Company, Rare Bird Brewpub, Saugatuck Brewing Company, Short’s Brewing Company, Witch’s Hat Brewing Company, HomeGrown Brewing Company, Waypost Brewing Company, Bell’s Brewery, Grand Armory Brewing Company, Redline Brewing Company, Silver Spruce Brewing Company, Bier Distillery, Fillmore 13 and Cultivate Coffee & Taphouse.

Michigan organizations, businesses and groups who are also participating include: Girls Pint Out-Holland, Girls Pint Out-Ann Arbor & Ypsilanti, Girls Pint Out-Petoskey, Flint Area Brewers, Mushroom Head Malt Company, Pink Boot Society-Grand Rapids and Craft Cultures.

To find registered brew days around the world, check the IWCBD map online at www.unitebrew.org.

To get more information on Michigan IWCBD, follow Fermenta on Facebook or ask your local brewery.

 

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