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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

Joe Short

Elk Rapids, Michigan – Short’s Brewing Company of Bellaire, MI has announced plans to distribute its beer and Starcut Ciders outside of Michigan. The brewery, founded by Joe Short in 2004, has distributed only to the state of Michigan since opening its production facility in 2009.
Short’s, known for its tasty experimental beers and “Michigan only, Michigan forever” sales philosophy, now asks fans to consider a saying often used in their brewery: “The only thing that stays the same is change.”
In a letter addressed to friends of Short’s, Joe Short said the decision to move away from the company’s Michigan only sales philosophy was not an easy one.
Joe Short
“I am at a crossroads because of our company growth and the ongoing expansion of our industry in Michigan. I have an amazing product, capacity to brew more beer, and a badass crew working hard in Northern Michigan to consider. We want to continue to grow and do awesome stuff, but we don’t want to sell out to investors or another brewery. In order to do what is right for our company and our community, we will begin to sell our beer outside the state of Michigan,” Short said in the letter.
Short’s feels a responsibility to make decisions that help the company continue to excel at providing for their staff, investing in their community, and pushing the boundaries of creativity in their craft, the brewery said in a press release.
In 2015, Short’s increased their distribution in Michigan by 24.2%. With the Michigan craft beer scene thriving and shelf space getting tighter, Short’s decided to implement a plan that would allow for sustained growth amidst the increasingly crowded market.
“My role is to ensure that we continue to thrive as a business and take care of our staff. We currently have both the capacity and the personnel to sell more beer and cider than just the Michigan market, without compromising the quality of service to our home state,” Short said.
Out of state distribution will begin February 5th. For more information, visit https://www.shortsbrewing.com/

Joe Short

Elk Rapids, Michigan – Short’s Brewing Company of Bellaire, MI has announced plans to distribute its beer and Starcut Ciders outside of Michigan. The brewery, founded by Joe Short in 2004, has distributed only to the state of Michigan since opening its production facility in 2009.

Short’s, known for its tasty experimental beers and “Michigan only, Michigan forever” sales philosophy, now asks fans to consider a saying often used in their brewery: “The only thing that stays the same is change.”

In a letter addressed to friends of Short’s, Joe Short said the decision to move away from the company’s Michigan only sales philosophy was not an easy one.

Joe Short

“I am at a crossroads because of our company growth and the ongoing expansion of our industry in Michigan. I have an amazing product, capacity to brew more beer, and a badass crew working hard in Northern Michigan to consider. We want to continue to grow and do awesome stuff, but we don’t want to sell out to investors or another brewery. In order to do what is right for our company and our community, we will begin to sell our beer outside the state of Michigan,” Short said in the letter.

Short’s feels a responsibility to make decisions that help the company continue to excel at providing for their staff, investing in their community, and pushing the boundaries of creativity in their craft, the brewery said in a press release.

In 2015, Short’s increased their distribution in Michigan by 24.2%. With the Michigan craft beer scene thriving and shelf space getting tighter, Short’s decided to implement a plan that would allow for sustained growth amidst the increasingly crowded market.

“My role is to ensure that we continue to thrive as a business and take care of our staff. We currently have both the capacity and the personnel to sell more beer and cider than just the Michigan market, without compromising the quality of service to our home state,” Short said.

Out of state distribution will begin February 5th. For more information, visit https://www.shortsbrewing.com/

https://player.vimeo.com/video/127611326

Short’s Brewing Company celebrated its 11th year of business in Bellaire during their anniversary party on Saturday. Ticket holders to the sold out event flooded the Bridge Street to partake in the festivities. Where last year’s party celebrated ten years of steady growth, this year’s celebration turned the focus back to the future, and what the brewery hopes to accomplish in the decade to follow.

“This day is just packed with a lot of emotion,” said owner Joe Short.

Along with the stresses that come with throwing a party for thousands of guests (which Short was grateful to say were allayed by the brewery’s dedicated staff), Short’s mind was on the weight of the brewery’s future endeavors. Short’s sights are shifting from growing the brewery to giving back to the communities of Bellaire and the state of Michigan.

“Once the growth part [of running the brewery] is done, I think the management of the company will be easier, and then we can put our energies not in growing the brewery, but in growing the community,” said Short.

Part of that effort began right with the anniversary party, which doubled as a fundraiser for the Bellaire Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Fifty percent of the profits from the party were donated to the DDA with the aim of improving the village’s infrastructure and growing businesses.

Those who attended contributed to this effort by enjoying 16-ounce pours of 20 different brews, seven of which were limited releases made especially for the anniversary party, as well as 10 different Starcut ciders. Attendees also had access to a bottled specialty release — an imperial gose called “The Creepster” brewed with apricot, orange, lemongrass, pink Himalayan sea salt and coriander. Food was available via a number of local food trucks as well as a special menu in the Short’s pub. All of the above boasted long lines of demanding attendees throughout the six-hour duration of the party.

Local bands The Accidentals, Vulfpeck and Greensky Bluegrass provided tunes. They performed on a colossal stage with dazzling lights, and could be heard throughout the entire grounds of the party, even over the roar of thousands of conversations.

In between the entertainment, Short delivered his State of the Brewery address. Short’s speech followed a video that riffed off of the 1985 film “Back to the Future.” After the video, Short came up on stage with his young son Simon, who adorably checked the mic before Short began his speech.

“He has no idea he’s in training right now,” joked Short.

Short went on to express gratitude for everyone who played an integral role in the success of the anniversary party (including a quick shout out to “planet earth and the milky way galaxy” for providing the day’s beautiful weather) as well as the success of the brewery over the last 11 years. Then he broke down the brewery’s success in numbers.

In the last eleven years, the brewery has experienced a 4,210 percent growth in sales, and a 2,083 percent growth in number of employees (making Short’s one of the top ten employers in Antrim County). Short’s has brewed 29 million pints of almost 400 different kinds of beer, 136 of which were made in the last year. Needless to say, in the last decade Short’s Brewing Company has experienced exponential growth internally, not to mention the numerous ways in which it has contributed to the surrounding community.

Short’s focus then shifted to the brewery’s goals for the future. The hope for the years to come is for the brewery to “stay awesome hungry.”

“Not only do I want to leave this place and planet earth in better shape than when we found it,” Short said, lifting his gaze from his notes to look deliberately at the audience. “I believe it is our responsibility.”

In the next years, Short’s will continue to increase the scope of its operations, including expanding its pub space and merchandise mart, while still remaining “Michigan only, Michigan forever.” As the company grows, its intent is to give back to the community and state which facilitated that growth.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/127611326
Short’s Brewing Company celebrated its 11th year of business in Bellaire during their anniversary party on Saturday. Ticket holders to the sold out event flooded the Bridge Street to partake in the festivities. Where last year’s party celebrated ten years of steady growth, this year’s celebration turned the focus back to the future, and what the brewery hopes to accomplish in the decade to follow.
“This day is just packed with a lot of emotion,” said owner Joe Short.
Along with the stresses that come with throwing a party for thousands of guests (which Short was grateful to say were allayed by the brewery’s dedicated staff), Short’s mind was on the weight of the brewery’s future endeavors. Short’s sights are shifting from growing the brewery to giving back to the communities of Bellaire and the state of Michigan.
“Once the growth part [of running the brewery] is done, I think the management of the company will be easier, and then we can put our energies not in growing the brewery, but in growing the community,” said Short.
Part of that effort began right with the anniversary party, which doubled as a fundraiser for the Bellaire Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Fifty percent of the profits from the party were donated to the DDA with the aim of improving the village’s infrastructure and growing businesses.
Those who attended contributed to this effort by enjoying 16-ounce pours of 20 different brews, seven of which were limited releases made especially for the anniversary party, as well as 10 different Starcut ciders. Attendees also had access to a bottled specialty release — an imperial gose called “The Creepster” brewed with apricot, orange, lemongrass, pink Himalayan sea salt and coriander. Food was available via a number of local food trucks as well as a special menu in the Short’s pub. All of the above boasted long lines of demanding attendees throughout the six-hour duration of the party.
Local bands The Accidentals, Vulfpeck and Greensky Bluegrass provided tunes. They performed on a colossal stage with dazzling lights, and could be heard throughout the entire grounds of the party, even over the roar of thousands of conversations.
In between the entertainment, Short delivered his State of the Brewery address. Short’s speech followed a video that riffed off of the 1985 film “Back to the Future.” After the video, Short came up on stage with his young son Simon, who adorably checked the mic before Short began his speech.
“He has no idea he’s in training right now,” joked Short.
Short went on to express gratitude for everyone who played an integral role in the success of the anniversary party (including a quick shout out to “planet earth and the milky way galaxy” for providing the day’s beautiful weather) as well as the success of the brewery over the last 11 years. Then he broke down the brewery’s success in numbers.
In the last eleven years, the brewery has experienced a 4,210 percent growth in sales, and a 2,083 percent growth in number of employees (making Short’s one of the top ten employers in Antrim County). Short’s has brewed 29 million pints of almost 400 different kinds of beer, 136 of which were made in the last year. Needless to say, in the last decade Short’s Brewing Company has experienced exponential growth internally, not to mention the numerous ways in which it has contributed to the surrounding community.
Short’s focus then shifted to the brewery’s goals for the future. The hope for the years to come is for the brewery to “stay awesome hungry.”
“Not only do I want to leave this place and planet earth in better shape than when we found it,” Short said, lifting his gaze from his notes to look deliberately at the audience. “I believe it is our responsibility.”
In the next years, Short’s will continue to increase the scope of its operations, including expanding its pub space and merchandise mart, while still remaining “Michigan only, Michigan forever.” As the company grows, its intent is to give back to the community and state which facilitated that growth.

Short’s Brewing Company announced its “$3 million band aid” on Wednesday. 

The company purchased two acres next to its existing production facility in Elk Rapids, which will help Short’s begin construction this summer on new brewing facilities. The brewery also bought a new water treatment system and bottling line.

Although there has been focus on the brewery’s recently announced $1.2 million expansion to its Bellaire pub, COO Matt Drake said the production facility upgrade will be crucial to the company’s growth.

“It’s part of a solution to the issue that we bumped into of maxing out our brewery,” Drake said. “We got as big as we could and we didn’t think we’d get to that point.” 

Even with their mission of distributing in Michigan, the demand keeps growing at a quick rate, Drake said. Last year, the company brewed roughly 30,000 barrels, a sharp incline from when the production facility opened in 2009, as production volume has grown more than 30 percent each of the past five years. The facility underwent a $2 million expansion in 2012. 

The new bottling line was designed by Krones, and will be an upgrade to its current “hodgepodge system.” It will fill 150 bottles a minute, a 300 percent improvement to the current filler. It’s been a $1.55 million project and will be operation on May 1.

The second addition is a 150,000 gallon aerobic wastewater pre-treatment system. The buy was to help ease the brewery’s effect on Elk Rapids, Drake said. 

“We’re making so much beer, the waste water has to go somewhere,” he said. “So, we’ll put it in a pre-treatment center and deliver clean water to our village here in Elk Rapids.”

That water reuse will add to the system already in place that send its beer byproducts to the Freemont Community Digester which converts it into useable fuel. “So what will be generated from our brewing is clean what that we deliver and energy,” Drake said.

The moves will ensure they can continue to provide Elk Rapids with jobs and a community-based manufacturing business.

“There’s been a decade or more of continued growth on that site,” he said. “This is a really exciting announcement because it means we can stay here. We can build a campus.

As the MittenBrew crew traveled to the U.P. Beer Festival, we scheduled a Short’s visit last Friday.

First up was a stop at the company’s production facility in Elk Rapids. The building, an old chain manufacturing facility, had a relatively new feeling. The stairs up to the offices used a chain from the factory as its handrail.

Perhaps it was the new brewing tanks the facility recently received that helped it double the production limits. The facility also is being outfitted for a specialty grain supply house to ease the production of their specialty batches such Huma Lupa Licious, which was brewing the day we toured.

Short’s Operations Manager Matt Drake gave us the special tour and indulged us with a lot of in-depth stories about the brewery.

Drake took us to the packaging side and Soft Parade was being bottled and kegged for shipping. The process, though one of the largest in Michigan, was still rather small compared to behemoths such as Founders Brewing Company and Bell’s Brewery.

But Short’s is keeping up with demand and shipping out beer as fast as it can make it. The storage refrigerator was practically empty. Most of what occupied the space were specialty batches and a quality control supply.

There’s also a dry storage supply to make sure the company has every setting a beer could be in, so if a complaint comes in, they can test where it might have gone wrong.

Short’s also has started to do its own packaging and recently rebuilt a six-pack machine from Founders that uses suction cups to open up the case.

In the barn next door, Drake showed us the special collection of beers given to Short’s from breweries across the world. The barn also is where beer is served from their special events. The company is in talks of selling beer out of the barn to passerbys as a fun brewpub of sorts for Elk Rapids.

We left Elk Rapids and went on a 40-minute, scenic drive to Bellaire, the location of the brewery’s original brewpub.

It’s a great setup, but barely feels like a bar. The main attraction really is the sandwiches and pizzas, all made with in-house ingredients.

With 20 beers on tap, there’s a wide range of Short’s selections you can’t find anywhere else. Even the onsite brewing facility is used to brew specialty beers just for the pub.

The facilities are both excellent representatives for the company’s goal to support Northern Michigan living and foster a friendly work environment. Keep an eye out for more stories about Short’s sparked from the trip.

As the MittenBrew crew traveled to the U.P. Beer Festival, we scheduled a Short’s visit last Friday.
First up was a stop at the company’s production facility in Elk Rapids. The building, an old chain manufacturing facility, had a relatively new feeling. The stairs up to the offices used a chain from the factory as its handrail.
Perhaps it was the new brewing tanks the facility recently received that helped it double the production limits. The facility also is being outfitted for a specialty grain supply house to ease the production of their specialty batches such Huma Lupa Licious, which was brewing the day we toured.
Short’s Operations Manager Matt Drake gave us the special tour and indulged us with a lot of in-depth stories about the brewery.
Drake took us to the packaging side and Soft Parade was being bottled and kegged for shipping. The process, though one of the largest in Michigan, was still rather small compared to behemoths such as Founders Brewing Company and Bell’s Brewery.
But Short’s is keeping up with demand and shipping out beer as fast as it can make it. The storage refrigerator was practically empty. Most of what occupied the space were specialty batches and a quality control supply.
There’s also a dry storage supply to make sure the company has every setting a beer could be in, so if a complaint comes in, they can test where it might have gone wrong.
Short’s also has started to do its own packaging and recently rebuilt a six-pack machine from Founders that uses suction cups to open up the case.
In the barn next door, Drake showed us the special collection of beers given to Short’s from breweries across the world. The barn also is where beer is served from their special events. The company is in talks of selling beer out of the barn to passerbys as a fun brewpub of sorts for Elk Rapids.
We left Elk Rapids and went on a 40-minute, scenic drive to Bellaire, the location of the brewery’s original brewpub.
It’s a great setup, but barely feels like a bar. The main attraction really is the sandwiches and pizzas, all made with in-house ingredients.
With 20 beers on tap, there’s a wide range of Short’s selections you can’t find anywhere else. Even the onsite brewing facility is used to brew specialty beers just for the pub.
The facilities are both excellent representatives for the company’s goal to support Northern Michigan living and foster a friendly work environment. Keep an eye out for more stories about Short’s sparked from the trip.