COMSTOCK, Mich. – Bell’s Brewery, Michigan’s oldest and largest brewery, celebrates its 32nd anniversary this month.
As part of the celebration, Bell’s kicked-off its 8th Annual Bell’s Homebrew Competition on Sept. 9 at Bell’s Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo.
“Three decades ago, I would have never imagined where we would be as a company, as a brewery, as an industry,” Larry Bell, President of Bell’s Brewery said.
“A lot has changed over the years. This year marks quite a few other milestones all over the state and we raise a glass to all of our fellow craft brewers celebrating as well,” he added.
bells brewery
Larry Bell founded Bell’s Brewery in 1983 and sold his first beer in 1985. The company he started is now 100% family-owned and also the largest independent craft brewery in the state of Michigan. Larry’s daughter, Laura Bell, was promoted to the role of CEO in February.
“It’s an incredible honor to be a part of the next generation,” Bell’s CEO Laura Bell said.
“As we look to what comes next, it’s very important to remember our roots and celebrate the fans and the homebrew community that helped us get to where we are today, she added.
Even before Larry Bell sold his first commercial beer, he started as a homebrewer and then founded a homebrew supply shop, a precursor to the brewery Bell’s is today. Production reached 135 barrels in 1986, all brewed and bottled by 10 employees.
Today, Bell’s employs more than 540 people, a majority in the state of Michigan, and shipped 421,000 barrels in 2016.
As the seventh largest craft brewery in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association, its impact can be seen throughout the craft beer industry in Michigan, in the Midwest and beyond. Bell’s was the first brewery to sell beer by the glass in the state and has inspired countless other breweries, homebrewers and craft beer enthusiasts.
Free wort for the Bell’s Homebrew Competition was given away to almost 200 homebrewers. Among the first place prizes for that competition, the winner will get to brew their recipe at Bell’s original Kalamazoo brewery to then to go on tap at the adjacent Café alongside beers like Oberon and Two Hearted, a beer that was recently named #1 beer in America by the readers of Zymurgy Magazine.
Coming up later this month is a three-day Octoberfest Celebration on Sept. 22-24, also at Bell’s Eccentric Café. German cuisine, live music and of course, Bell’s Octoberfest Beer are all part of the festivities. Held in the Bell’s Beer Garden, this is a free, all-ages event.
Bell’s fans are also encouraged to see where their favorite beers are born. Free brewery tours of Bell’s original Kalamazoo brewery are offered on weekends. Tours of its nearby Comstock Brewery are offered throughout the week. Tours can be booked at


Williamston, MI The non-profit craft beverage trade group, Fermenta will celebrate its third anniversary on Saturday, September 23 at the Old Nation Brewing Company from 12-4 p.m.

This year’s keynote speaker is Lucy Saunders, beer and food blogger and author of The Best of American Beer and Food cookbook. She will have several Wisconsin cheeses to pair with Old Nation beer and will discuss beer and food pairings as well as how to build a better beer garden and how to design outdoor hospitality for Great Lakes water quality. In addition, Fermenta will host their annual silent auction with lots from Founders, Short’s Brewing Co, The Cicerone Certification Program, Adventures in Home Brewing, The Country Malt Group, and Motor City Malting, among others. All proceeds go to their scholarship fund which allows members to attend workshops, classes, and seminars to further their knowledge in the craft beverage industry.

Live music is a new addition to this year’s anniversary party and will be provided by Jimmy Likes Pie, a Lansing-based band that will play an eclectic mix of covers and original music.

The new board will also be elected, existing members can renew membership and all people interested in becoming more involved in the craft beer, wine, or spirits industries are welcome to join the celebration.

To purchase tickets to celebrate the women of the Michigan craft beverage industry and attend the Anniversary event, please visit here.

Fermenta is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit trade group initiated by Michigan women, committed to diversity, camaraderie, networking, and education within the craft beverage industry. The organization hosts events with an educational focus and networking opportunities and provides a network that encourages conversation about the importance of diversifying the craft alcohol industry, ways to foster progress, and provide opportunities for a variety of voices and visions.




Comstock Park, Mich. – Perrin Brewing celebrates five years of crafting quality beer in Michigan, join the celebration and toast to years to come! On September 9th at Perrin Brewing of Comstock Park the backyard will be bursting with live music entertainment, food trucks, specialty beers, vendors and the annual cornhole tournament! Tickets are available in the Perrin Pub or on EventBrite.

The party kicks off for Pub Club members and Cornhole Tournament participants at 3 pm and the general public at 4 pm until 11 pm. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the gate, open to ages 21 years of age and older.

The annual Cornhole Tournament registration ends September 2nd, pick a teammate and sign up online: The cost is $40/team and partial proceeds benefit the Can’d Aid Foundation to continue doin’ good in the community where they CAN.

The live music entertainment line-up:

4:00 pm | Paradise Outlaw
4:55 pm | hi-ker
5:50 pm | Miss Atomic
6:45 pm | The Crane Wives
8:15 pm | Jake Kershaw
9:50 pm | Papa Vegas

The beer isn’t the only thing party people get to enjoy, several local food trucks will be offering a variety of food options including Blue Spoon Catering, Daddy Pete’s BBQ, Ice Box Brand Ice Cream, Patty Matters, Pizzaiolo, and What the Truck.

The Perrin 5th Anniversary Party will go on rain or shine. Chairs and blankets are welcome just no outside coolers or beverages, Perrin will have plenty of beer flowing.

Perrin Brewing is the Saturday, September 9 destination to listen to live music, browse local vendors, enjoy a freshly rolled cigar in the cigar lounge, and raise a pint to hand-crafted beer in Michigan!
Perrin 5th anniversary

grand river brewery

While growing up in Jackson, MI, I saw tons of businesses come and go in the downtown area. It was always sad watching a memorable place close, but it was intriguing to see what comes next.

grand river breweryAbout 4 years ago Jackson’s next big thing was the opening of Grand River Brewery. They brought a new kind of spunk to Jackson by reviving an 85 year old building and giving it a new unique style. Grand River renovated the entire place and added a kitchen, column still, and a 15-barrel steam powered brew house.

“We see downtown as having a lot of potential and being up and coming,” said John Burtka, owner of Grand River Brewery. “We wanted to be one of the first ones here to help establish new investment in downtown Jackson.”

Grand River’s brew house is home to the award winning Monkey Mouth IPA and several other delicious beers. They also have wine that they make with Michigan grapes grown at local vineyards. Not only that, they also are a craft distillery that distills whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum.

“We didn’t want customers not coming to our taproom because one person out of four in that party wanted a mixed drink. So we started distilling too,” said Burtka

grand river brewery

Grand River Brewery is also planning to expand their beer distributing within Michigan so more people can enjoy their tasty beers.

But don’t wait for the beer to come to you! Go to the beer and bring all your friends because there is something for everyone. Grand River Brewery is a great place to grab some amazing food and drinks, and a great place to see how hard work and determination can have such a positive influence on a city.

On June 28, celebrate GRB’s 4 year anniversary at their Annual Pig Roast and beer release. They’ll be debuting the new Pinky ‘N Da Grain Raspberry Gose. Billy Lewis and The Soulbacks will be playing a live set from 6PM-9PM.

Plates are $16 and include a 1/2 lb. of pork, bbq sauce, slaw, potato salad, corn on the cob, and a slice of watermelon.

grand river brewery


harmony brewingOn Saturday, February 4 Harmony Brewing Company will celebrate its fifth year of being in business with a party  and a limited edition bottle release of their annual brew ‘Birthday Barleywine’.  Other festivities  include an hour of family fun from 12:30-1:30  with a new  brunch menu and popular kid friendly magician and comedian, PJ Weber. The celebration will continue into the night with the Vinyl Night All Stars featuring a lineup of the most popular DJ’s from Harmony’s weekly event, Vinyl Thursday.

Siblings Heather Van Dyke-Titus, Barry Van Dyke and Jackson Van Dyke opened Harmony Brewing Company in February 2012. The popular Eastown brewpub quickly became a local favorite. Overwhelming demand required the Van Dyke’s to expand production and open a second location, Harmony Hall on Grand Rapids’ West Side.


Since opening, Harmony has been recognized for its excellent wood fired pizza, beer, leadership on various community initiatives, and volunteer work.

Harmony Brewing Company has received numerous awards:

Best Pizza in Grand Rapids, Revue Magazine-2016

Fourth best Pizza in Michigan, M-Live-2013 & 2016

On-The–Town, Gold Townie Best Pizza in Grand Rapids -2014

On-The-Town, Silver Townie Best Brewery in Grand Rapids-2014,

Best Neighborhood Pint, Neighborhood Business Alliance-2012,

Grand Award for excellence, Neighborhood Business Alliance-2012,

Snail of Approval, Slow Food West Michigan-2014



Co-owner, Jackson Van Dyke says, “It’s been an amazing five years. Opening Harmony gave us the opportunity to pursue things that we’re truly passionate about: inventive and creative beer,  simple but delicious food and being a part of building our community and city.  Since we’ve opened, Harmony has been a part of  and witnessed, Grand Rapids being recognized as Beer City USA, a national and even global beer destination.  It’s been an honor to be a founding member and President of the Beer City Brewers Guild.  I appreciate the opportunity to help grow and expand Grand Rapid’s Beer culture and Harmony’s place in it. “


Rockford, MI – Rockford Brewing Company (RBC) will celebrate four years of brewing quality craft beers on Saturday, December 17th with limited release brews, a themed food menu, special discounts, and more. This free event starts at 11am and continues until midnight.

Rockford Brewing Company will be tapping kegs of 2014 and 2015 Anniversary ale for attendees, as well as featuring different versions of the 2015 batch with flavor infusions to complement the Belgian style beer.

Using a randall (device that infuses a beer with flavor-enhancing ingredients that were not part of the original brew), the 2015 Anniversary Ale additions will be changed throughout the day, featuring ingredients such as:

1. Coffee, Cocoa Nibs and Vanilla
2. Oak Chips and Ginger
3. Dried Garden Peppers and Blood Oranges

4. Peppercorns and Cinnamon

A very limited batch of 2014 Anniversary 750ml bottles will be available for purchase for $12.99 – first come, first served!

Mug Club members will receive $2.25 off all drafts and all other attendees will receive $1 off drafts all day. Merchandise will be 50% off (excluding stainless steel growlers) and gift card discounts will be available for purchase, just in time for the holidays!

A special menu from the new kitchen will be running, including favorites items selected by RBC’s staff. The menu will also include mini brat corndogs, baja shrimp tacos, cornmeal crusted fried pickles, braised beef sandwich, and elephant ears!

Chris Kies, General Manager of Rockford Brewing Company, comments on their growth over the years:  “It’s been a wonderful journey, and our annual Anniversary party allows us to take a moment to reflect and look back at the past year and how we’ve grown since opening. We love sharing something special with our customers who are passionate about RBC through this event. The Anniversary Party always has a festive, happy atmosphere, for our customers and our staff. It’s just great, all around.”

rockford brewing

Elk Rapids, Mich. – Starcut Ciders, a craft cider brand produced by Short’s Brewing Company, is celebrating two years handcrafting hard ciders this month. Launched at the Short’s Brewing Company pub in November 2014, Starcut Ciders began bottled cider distribution in August 2015. Experiencing tremendous growth, in just two years Starcut Ciders is now the third largest cider maker in Michigan and a strong regional brand.

starcut ciders

Regularly distributed in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Colorado, the company has sold approximately 315,000 liters or 2,700 barrels of hard cider in 2016. According to Short’s CEO and Creative Engineer, Joe Short “We are thrilled to have created a locally grown brand that’s connecting with consumers in Michigan and throughout the Midwest. Between artwork by the legendary Don Pendleton and the well balanced and unique ciders crafted by our team, we’ve found a winning combination.”

According to the company’s Head Cider Maker, Tony Hansen, cider fans have much to look forward to in the years to come. “We have a lot of exciting cider projects happening soon including a bottled sparkling cider to be released at our Starcut Ciders Celebration (February 25th, 2017), a new fruit cider, and a handful of experimental ciders. We also plan to increase our number of Erraticus wild cider and barrel aged offerings in the new year.”

In 2017 the company will continue to distribute flagship ciders Octorock (semi-sweet) and Pulsar (semi-dry) and three seasonal varieties; Immortal Jelly, Squishy, and Phuzz. In addition to the ciders distributed by Starcut, the company will continue to bottle their Erraticus Series. Erraticus is a series of rare, small batch, wild ciders fermented with apples sourced from Northern Michigan orchards. Erraticus 5 and Erraticus 6 are currently available for sale at the Short’s Brewing Company pub and Short’s Mart in Bellaire, MI. Erraticus 7, a spruce cider, will be released later this season.

For more information regarding Starcut Ciders, please visit


Greg “Gonzo” Haner has been a stalwart member of the Kalamazoo craft beer scene for more than 20 years, acting as brewmaster for Kalamazoo’s first brewpub and assisting several new breweries get up and running. Now his namesake brewery will be celebrating its third anniversary with numerous barrel-aged and one-off beers while eyeing the future.


Gonzo’s Biggdogg Brewing’s official third birthday is Nov. 13, but the brewery will start the party a day early with a celebratory toast and cake at 7 p.m. and some high octane brews starting when it opens at 11 a.m. including a barrel-aged version of it’s flagship Vanilla Porter, an ale named Qyburn’s Turn made by combining a 12 percent ABV Scotch Ale with an Imperial Stout, and a few other surprises.

“We’ve got a barleywine that’s been sitting in a brandy barrel for two-and-a-half years,” Haner said.

Haner began homebrewing in 1991. A few years later he earned a degree in microbrewing from the Seibel Institute of Technology and helped open Olde Peninsula Brewpub as its brewmaster in 1996. Beyond that, he’s also helped other brewers in town get their recipes perfected.

“Gonzo gave me some good insight into my beer,” said Kevin Tibbs, brewmaster at Tibbs Brewing Company. “He improved my beer a lot, just talking to him. When I was brewing at home I felt like there was a little something missing. He told me it was good, but it was thin and that always stuck with me.”

“Really we all help each other,” Haner said. “I think it’s a thing where everybody works together to help everybody else.”

Gonzo’s Biggdogg was among the initial wave of breweries that opened in the Kalamazoo craft beer boom of 2013, and has maintained a high profile through a combination of Haner’s name recognition, a constantly rotating lineup of tap offerings at the brewery, a full-slate of canned beers available on store shelves, and distribution to various bars and restaurants.

In the coming year the brewery is planning to add ciders to the mix as well.

“I think the business is doing very good,” Haner said. “We’ve got a lot of key people here that are doing a great job.”

Gonzo’s currently cans five beers for distribution, with help from Michigan Mobile Canning. The most recent addition to the lineup is Yummy Hoppy, a double IPA made with local hops from Hop Head Farms. It joined Vanilla Porter, Burning Sun Redd, Magic Trick Hefeweizen, and Geyser Brown as the brewery’s canned options in late September.

“A lot of customers really liked Yummy Hoppy, so going off our customers’ excitement we decided to go ahead and can that and it’s done very well so far,” Haner said. “It’s a nice beer in a can, definitely.”

Looking forward to the brewery’s future, Haner said he intends to keep rotating new and different beers into the lineup along side some favorite standbys to keep people coming back.

“We rotate all of the time to keep things fresh,” he said. “It’s good to switch it up. People don’t like to come in here every week or every month and have the same beers on. The reason I go to places is because they have something new on or to get one I really like and then try one or two new beers they have on that I’ve never had before.

“I think that’s the thing the thing about the craft scene right now. People want to try something new every time.”