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stormcloud brewing

FRANKFORT, MI – Stormcloud Brewing Company has been recognized as one of the 2016 “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch,” an awards program presented by Michigan Celebrates Small Business.

Stormcloud Brewing Company will be honored at an awards ceremony during the twelfth annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business gala event, May 5, 2016 in Lansing.

With a focus on Belgian-style brewing, Stormcloud Brewing Company is an award-winning micro-brewery and pub located in the coastal city of Frankfort, in the northwest corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Stormcloud offers 16 taps of handcrafted beer in its downtown pub, in addition to locally-produced cider, mead and wine. Currently, Stormcloud has secured partnerships to distribute its beer to restaurants and pubs within 33 Michigan counties. Stormcloud Brewing Company opened its doors in June 2013.

“We are a young company and this recognition is a great honor for everyone at Stormcloud,” says Co-Owner Rick Schmitt. “Without the dedication and hard work of our employees, this award would not have been possible. My business partner, Stormcloud’s Head Brewer Brian Confer, and I would like to thank all of our team members for working to help achieve this incredible distinction.”

stormcloud brewingCompanies making it to the “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” list are a remarkable group of second-stage companies. Defined as having 6 to 99 full-time-equivalent employees and generating $750,000 to $50 million in annual revenue or working capital from investors or grants, these companies form the backbone of Michigan’s economy. Representing all regions of the state and a diverse range of industries, companies like Stormcloud Brewing Company are known for their exceptional entrepreneurial leadership, creation of innovation or use of innovation in creative ways, and their sustainable competitive advantage.
Winners were selected by Michigan-based judges from the banking, economic development, entrepreneurship development, and venture capital communities.

Michigan 50 Companies to Watch is presented by Michigan Celebrates Small Business.
Founding underwriters are the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, PNC Bank, Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, and Dynamic Edge, Inc.

Brian_Rick_StormcloudBrew (90)

Contributing Underwriters are Comcast Business Class, Consumers Energy, DTE Energy Foundation, Hungerford Nichols CPAs and Advisors, Edge Partners, Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates, Rehmann, Michigan Business Network and Varnum Attorneys at Law.

Michigan Celebrates Small Business was founded by Michigan Small Business Development Center, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, U.S. Small Business Administration – Michigan, Edward Lowe Foundation, Chris Holman – Small Business Advocate, and the Small Business Association of Michigan.

Ashley's

For the past six years, Ashley’s of Westland has hosted it’s Belgian Beer Week, serving only beer brewed in Belgium over an eleven day period. In 2015, they added the North American Belgian Beer Festival and this year are adding a second ‘festival within a festival’ by hosting the Ultimate Funk Beer Fest.

Friday February 12 is the inaugural Ultimate Funk Beer Fest. This event will feature more than 120 beers from 60 breweries in 8 countries. The featured styles will include lambics, gueuzes, Berliner weisses, goses, Flemish red ales, oud bruins, wood-aged ales, rauchbiers, and more. Beers aged in bourbon barrels will be well represented as well, with stouts, quadrupels, Scotch ales, barleywines, and other styles making an appearance.

“As we evolve to ‘Craft Beer 2.0,’ brew enthusiasts are seeking the next big thing,” said Roy More, co-owner of Ashley’s. “American consumers are just now really beginning to discover sour and other funky ales that are in reality based on centuries-old styles. Many are blended and aged for years in oaken barrels, called foeders, before being ready for release like fine wines. The resulting beers are often delicately complex and a rewarding experience for those who have cultivated a taste for them.”

“Since 1983, Ashley’s has existed to help people have a good time and discover new tastes,” said More. “This inaugural Funk Beer Fest is in line with our mission of expanding our guests’ experiences in new ways.”

Saturday February 13 sees the return on the North American Belgian Beer Festival, the country’s largest Belgian-only beer event. The event is sponsored by the Consulate General of Belgium/Flanders Investment and Trade, a partnership that blossomed at last year’s inaugural event.

As many as one thousand attendees will be able to sample more than 220 beers from the more than 80 Belgian breweries represented.

“You would have to go to Belgium to find this many Belgian beers in one place,” said Xavier Van Honsebrouck, fifth generation owner of Van Honsebrouck brewery in Ingelmunster, Belgium — who attended the 2015 festival and plans to attend again this year.

Belgium is recognized by many experts as one of the world’s top beer nations, with Belgian brewers creating more recognized styles of beer per capita than any other country.

“This event showcases exclusively craft beers brewed in Belgium,” said Luc Strybol, head of the economic mission of Flanders. “There will be breweries that trace their roots back a thousand years, breweries that have been owned by the same family for over a hundred years, and others that just formed in the past few years.”

Festival attendees will also have the chance to pair the many unique specialty and boutique brews with a menu of Belgian-inspired “cuisine à la bière.” Brewers and other Belgian beer experts will be on hand to help educate and guide guests through the amazing diversity and complexity of the Belgian beer world.

Due to the success of the last year’s festival, the 2016 event will take place in an expanded, heated tent next to Ashley’s. It will include several educational sampling sessions that cover the history of Belgian brewing, the Trappist monasteries that make beers, and beer blending. New this year is a VIP suite within the festival that will include a private Belgian-inspired buffet as well as exclusive samples.

“To address the growing interest among beer drinkers, many American craft brewers are making their interpretation of Belgian beers,” said Roy More, co-owner of Ashley’s. “This festival offers guests the opportunity to try the originals.” More, along with co-owner and brother Jeff, are frequent visitors to Belgium, where they were both knighted last fall by the Belgian Brewer’s Guild in recognition of their support of the Belgian beer industry.

Tickets for both events are available online at the following links-

Ultimate Funk Fest- www.ashleys.com/events.xhtml

North American Belgian Beer Festival- www.nabbf.org/registration.

ANN ARBOR – Since the 1300s, the Union of Belgian Brewers has existed as guild for Belgian breweries. It still exists today as one of the oldest professional associations, and nearly all Belgian breweries belong to it. On Sept. 4, the Union will ennoble founders and co-owners Roy More and Jeff More of Ashley’s Restaurants as honorary Knights of the Union of Belgian Brewers at its annual ceremony in Brussels, Belgium.
Those who are dubbed into the Knighthood of the Brewer’s Mash Staff (“Ridderschap van de Roerstok der Browers”) are recognized as having made significant contributions to the promotion and development of Belgian Brewing. Roy and Jeff More will be the first in Michigan to receive the honor.
In addition to being widely acknowledged as a premier beer bar, Ashley’s has participated diversely in promoting Belgian beer for decades. Every February, Ashley’s Westland location hosts the largest exclusively Belgian-made beer festival in the U.S. Both Ashley’s locations offer a full range of Belgian-made beers as part of their craft beer portfolio.
“Ashley’s first started serving Belgian beers in 1985, and we held our first Belgian beer sampling event in 1988,” said Jeff More.
“Ashley’s has always been about helping people have a great time,” said Roy More. “One of the ways is through great beers, and the Belgian brewers are recognized as being among the best in the world.”
The knighting ceremony will be held in the Brussels Town Hall on the Grote Markt (“Grand Place”) next to the Union building, which has been occupied by the Union since the 17th century.

Photo: Erik Smith

Photo: Erik Smith

ANN ARBOR – Since the 1300s, the Union of Belgian Brewers has existed as guild for Belgian breweries. It still exists today as one of the oldest professional associations, and nearly all Belgian breweries belong to it. On Sept. 4, the Union will ennoble founders and co-owners Roy More and Jeff More of Ashley’s Restaurants as honorary Knights of the Union of Belgian Brewers at its annual ceremony in Brussels, Belgium.

Those who are dubbed into the Knighthood of the Brewer’s Mash Staff (“Ridderschap van de Roerstok der Browers”) are recognized as having made significant contributions to the promotion and development of Belgian Brewing. Roy and Jeff More will be the first in Michigan to receive the honor.

In addition to being widely acknowledged as a premier beer bar, Ashley’s has participated diversely in promoting Belgian beer for decades. Every February, Ashley’s Westland location hosts the largest exclusively Belgian-made beer festival in the U.S. Both Ashley’s locations offer a full range of Belgian-made beers as part of their craft beer portfolio.

“Ashley’s first started serving Belgian beers in 1985, and we held our first Belgian beer sampling event in 1988,” said Jeff More.

“Ashley’s has always been about helping people have a great time,” said Roy More. “One of the ways is through great beers, and the Belgian brewers are recognized as being among the best in the world.”

The knighting ceremony will be held in the Brussels Town Hall on the Grote Markt (“Grand Place”) next to the Union building, which has been occupied by the Union since the 17th century.

Photo: Erik Smith

Photo: Erik Smith

Bastogne — a Walloon municipality of Belgium located in the province of Luxembourg.

Bastone — a Belgian-inspired brewery and restaurant located in the City of Royal Oak.

For 11 years, Bastone has anchored itself on the corner of 5th and Main, providing patrons with Belgian brews, delicious food and a comfortable atmosphere.

During its run, the brewery has racked up countless awards on an annual basis for its products. Yet, despite all of its acclaim, Bastone flies relatively under the radar when it comes to Michigan breweries.

“People who are beer enthusiasts know who we are, but I don’t think the general public knew us as a brewery,” said General Manager John Sleamon. “Our brewery is in the basement. There’s no window where you can see the brewing so, a lot of people don’t know we’re a brewery. They just think we’re some Belgian place.”

That “Belgian place” is not only one locale, but technically four establishments all housed under one roof. In addition to Bastone, you will find dance club Craft, wine bar Vinotecca and Belgian beer bar Monk. Throughout all four of the locations, Bastone beers are readily available for patrons.

There is one man solely responsible for all of the beers produced at Bastone: Brewmaster Rockne Van Meter.

With prior experience from his time at Big Buck in Auburn Hills and Rochester Mills in Rochester, Van Meter now flies solo at Bastone and has been with the brewery since 2005.

This year, he and Bastone will be responsible for producing around 600 barrels.

“This brewery is very hands-on and I’m also the only one who works in the brewery,” Van Meter said. “So, for me, 600 barrels a year is a good amount to make especially when dealing with open fermentation, Belgian styles, American styles and lagers. It also affords me the time and effort I need to focus on quality.”

Quality that comes through a variety of styles, all of which are determined by Van Meter.

“We had a set list of menu beers that were in place when I started, except for our Triple which was added later,” he said. “The seasonal beers I brew are for the most part, beers I want to drink or try my hand at making. I am the sole decision maker when it comes to what seasonal beers to make, and also on the recipes for our menu beers.”

Sleamon said Bastone is focused on three main things: “Good beer, good food and good service.”

With any great beer offerings, pairing them with food is equally as important. Coming out of its 100% fresh kitchen, some of the most popular menu items are steamed mussels, pomme frites and the steak sandwich, according to Sleamon.

In addition to keeping his focus on the mainstay brews, Van Meter isn’t afraid to try different things or make improvements.

“If I feel something needs to change in one of our menu beers, then the change is made. I’m given a lot of freedom to do what I do,” he said.
While changes and improvements are welcome, the rules are bent, not broken.

“I haven’t and will not however, change a beer from what I know to be stylistically correct and change it to meet an individual’s expectations,” Van Meter said.

Bastone has grown quite comfortable in its 11 year stint in Royal Oak. Sleamon credits the city the brewery resides in as a large part of its success.

“There’s a lot of energy in this place,” he said. “Royal Oak is a great town and has a lot of great things going for it.”

As the city around Bastone is constantly changing, Van Meter plans on continuing the established quality associated with the Bastone name and keeping it simple moving forward.

“Keep on making beer,” Van Meter said. “I’m not trying to make the most beer or anything like that. So I guess I’d really just like to see it get better than it was yesterday and is today.”