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stormcloud production

FRANKFORT, Mich –– The beer is flowing at Stormcloud Brewing Company’s new production brewery located on the east side of the city of Frankfort. The 12,759 square-foot facility houses a 20-barrel brewhouse, handcrafted by W.M. Sprinkman Corporation of Waukesha, Wisconsin, with the capacity to brew 4,500 barrels of beer annually. The brewery is also home to a new Craft Canning System, built by Codi Manufacturing, Inc. in Golden, Colorado, with the capacity to fill approximately 40 cans per minute.

stormcloud production

In March, Stormcloud began canning its two most popular beers – Rainmaker Ale, a Belgian-style Pale Ale that brought home a bronze medal from Denver’s Great American Beer Festival, and Whiled Away® IPA, a Belgian-style IPA and best seller in Stormcloud’s downtown Frankfort pub.

Six packs of both beers in 12oz cans have been distributed to stores in 11 Michigan counties, including the cities of Traverse City, Manistee and Ludington. As production increases, Stormcloud cans will be distributed north to Petoskey, Cheboygan and Alpena, and south to Muskegon and Grand Rapids.

stormcloud production

The increase in beer production capacity at the new brewery has already enabled Stormcloud to expand its keg beer distribution to the greater Grand Rapids area in partnership with West Side Beer Distributing of Grand Rapids. Stormcloud’s current distribution footprint includes 32 counties in Michigan’s lower peninsula.

“I’m proud of our efforts to make great beer that people want to drink,” says co-owner and head brewer Brian Confer. “We’re very excited about the increased capacity at the new facility, both in terms of brewing volume and lab space to continue our push for the best quality beer we can make.”

Designed by Byce & Associates, Inc. of Kalamazoo, the production brewery houses brewing, fermentation, packaging, cold storage, and all shipping and receiving processes. The facility is also home to a brewing laboratory, office space, and public tasting room with merchandise space. The tasting room is scheduled to open to the public Friday, May 25 and will feature an outdoor beer garden similar to Stormcloud’s downtown location.

“We wanted the design of the tasting room and outdoor area to connect visually with our existing pub and restaurant,” says co-owner Rick Schmitt. “So even though we’re across town from the pub, both new guests and long-time customers will feel the connection to Stormcloud’s downtown roots.”

Energy efficiency was also top-of-mind when designing the new brewery, and a number of environmentally friendly systems were put into place at the production facility, including:

  • 6.2 kW Solar System with 10 two-panel ground mounted arrays that automatically orient to the sun’s location in the sky. Installed by Traverse Solar of Traverse City.
  • Large sections of vertical glass curtain walls and strategically placed skylights in the production area to maximize daylighting.
  • All interior lighting is controlled by occupancy sensors and shuts off automatically when vacant.
  • All exterior lighting is controlled by photocell and timeclock. Exterior lighting shuts off at dawn.
  • All light fixtures are LED, using less than half of the lighting energy (watts per square foot) allowed by the latest energy code.
  • Office furnace is 95% efficient (minimum requirement is 80% efficient).
  • Office condensing unit is 15 SEER (minimum requirement is 13 SEER).
  • Production area gas heaters are 90% plus efficient (minimum requirement is 80%).
  • Two electric car charging stations (Tesla and generic). Available summer 2018.

Public tours of Stormcloud’s new production facility will begin this summer. The brewery and tasting room is located at 366 Parkview Lane in Frankfort, Michigan.

 

 

For the first time ever, fans of The Mitten Brewing Company beer will be able to bring it home in that portable, recyclable aluminum vessel the industry loves so much.

mitten brewingThe brewery is celebrating its fifth anniversary November 13-19. Since opening on Grand Rapidsʼ West Side in 2012, the Grand Rapids brewery has enjoyed steady growth. Now, owners Max Trierweiler and Chris Andrus have announced they’re ready for the next step: packaging.

“Weʼve spent the last five years building a quality brand we can be proud of,” Trierweiler said.

“Max and I wanted to do something meaningful for our fifth anniversary, and what could be better than our first ever canning run with a beer we used to brew in our garage?” Andrus said.

The first release will be a limited run of 5,000 cans of Peanuts and Crackerjack Porter, canned in-house with a brand new canning line from Michigan company MicroCanner. The beer is a sweet, robust porter made with real roasted peanuts and peanut butter from Detroitʼs Germack Pistachio Company. The Mitten Brewing Company favorite clocks in at 6.0% ABV.

“We like to say that when you drink Peanuts and Crackerjack, the ballpark comes to you,” Trierweiler said.

Customers can purchase the beer at the brewery in four packs of 12-ounce cans for $9.99 starting at 11:30am, Monday, November 13. Purchases will be limited to four four packs, and the first 100 customers will receive a free Mitten Brewing Company can koozie.

Other perks of visiting Mitten Brewing Company during its anniversary week include their top-voted 2017 pizza specials and $5 off their famous Pizza Flights, both available all week long. Mitten Clubhouse (the brewery’s mug club) renewal begins on Tuesday, November 14 and will feature “Clubhouse Only” beer tappings and specials.

“We continue to be overwhelmed by the support weʼve seen from the community these past five years,” Andrus said.

More Mitten Brewing Company favorites will be available in cans come early 2018, starting with a wider release of their popular Country Strong IPA.

 

PORTAGE — Scott Freitas has a whole catalog of names for what it is: A mini-keg, an earth saver, a billboard, a handful of high tech, the “ultimate package for beer.” He can also tell you what it isn’t: “It is not your grandpa’s Budweiser.”

“It” is a can. It’s the only packaging Freitas uses for his craft brews from Latitude 42 in Portage, and it’s a growing trend in the rest of the craft beer world as well — Founders and Bell’s have both introduced canned lines in the last year.

For Freitas, however, canning is an old habit, not a new trend. He has sold his beer in cans since his days as head brewer at Maui Brewing Co., and when he helped found Latitude 42, it was the only option he discussed. “That’s all I was willing to do,” he says.

You can tell he’s a veteran of canning — and an enthusiastic one — because he fires off its facts and benefits faster, almost, than you can listen to them.

It’s cheap — simpler to make, lighter to ship and easier to store than bottles.

It’s safer, and thus more portable, than bottles — you can take it tons of places where glass is forbidden, which is especially handy in an outdoors-friendly state like Michigan.

It’s eco-friendly – easy to recycle and reuse. (If we recycled all the cans we’ve already got, says Freitas, we wouldn’t have to make another for 20 years.)

It’s a better billboard for brand and product than a narrow bottle label.

And most of all, it’s better for your beer. “Bottles bleed sunlight and leak oxygen,” says Freitas. A can doesn’t; it keeps beer fresher longer. And with advances in can tech – things like BPA-free liners – you no longer have to fear the tinny taste your grandfather’s Bud had. There’s no contact between liquid and metal at all.

But a lot of people don’t know that, especially the last part. Most craft beer, of course, is still sold in bottles, and many people assume better beer automatically comes in a better container. Cans are for macro, bottles for craft, they think.

That turns canners like Freitas into de-facto evangelists for cans, and that seems to be why all this information is on the tip of his tongue. He’s “always” educating customers, he says. “Step outside the box a little bit,” he tells them. “Things are changing these days.”

Give it a shot. You can try three different Latitude 42 brews (Lil’ Sunshine Golden Ale, Red Beard’s India Red Ale and Powerline Porter) in cans off your local store’s shelves, and the brewery will be adding new varieties soon.

DETROIT — For the first time since 1985, beer will be canned in Detroit. Atwater Brewery, the city’s largest brewer, is leading the charge and canning Dirty Blonde Ale, Grand Circus Session IPA and Atwater Lager.

The brews will be immediately available in 12-ounce cans. The brewery will be canning in 16- and 19-ounce sizes in the future as well.

“We’ve said all along we want to bring the art of brewing back to the Motor City and help to revive Detroit’s role as a leading producer of great beers,” said Atwater Brewery owner Mark Rieth. “In the past few years, we’ve grown to be Detroit’s biggest brewer. Canning is an important next step in our mission to bring Detroit everywhere.”

Atwater brews ‘Distinctly Detroit’ styles of beer in the German tradition. According to Rieth, “It’s all about brewing clean, palatable beers with layers of flavors.  We’re thrilled that our beers, led by our Vanilla Java Porter and Dirty Blonde, have met such an enthusiastic response from the market.”

Bolstered by recent production expansion, Atwater is on pace for its tenth consecutive record sales year.


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