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summer beer fest

(LANSING, Mich) – Nearly 150 Michigan breweries will celebrate “Michigan Craft Beer Month” July 26-27 at Riverside Park in downtown Ypsilanti as the Michigan Brewers Guild gears up for their 22nd Annual Summer Beer Festival. More than 1,100 beers will be on tap during the two-day outdoor event, which is held rain or shine. Festival hours 6-9pm on Friday and 1-6pm on Saturday, with one-hour early admission for current Enthusiast Members. Special beer offerings are also planned during that first hour.

This year’s entertainment includes Ryan Dillaha and The Miracle Men on Friday, July 26 (6:15-7:15pm and 7:45-9pm) and Stone Clover(1:30-3pm) and Black Tie Circus (4-5:50) on Saturday.

The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts four festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its more than 290 member breweries (a number that increases almost on a monthly basis).

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.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes more than 17,000 full-time jobs, $700 million in labor income/wages with a total economic impact of over $2.4 billion. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #4 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

 

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.

 

With literally thousands of beers to try from hundreds of breweries, time is a precious commodity at the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Fest. One gulp of Brewery Becker’s 15% Braggot and you might need a 15 minute breather by the riverside to sober up. Tick tock. Follow up with a healthy pour or two of KBS and that’s a wrap. Needless to say, the four hour window can hardly feel like enough to scratch the surface of Michigan’s amazing beer scene. I found a winning formula in seeking out unfamiliar brews, mingling, and simply taking in the sights.

summer beer fest

Hayley & Beer-tern Jack

One key observation: what a good looking group of drinkers. It’s clear the craft beer community has upgraded its sartorial sensibilities beyond those hosed hardhats you suck beer out of. I saw patterns galore, sick kicks, fanny packs too. The range of personal style reflects a culture as diverse as its beer selection. Still, in spite of our differences we can all unite behind a pretzel necklace, the greatest tongue-in-cheek alternative to a choker. Sense of humor should always precede fashion sense, and judging from all the smiles I saw Friday, craft beer still has its priorities straight. Here are a few of the friendly faces we met while patrolling the grounds.

 

 

 

Photography: Katie Raymond

Dutton, Mich. — Railtown Brewing Company will open the doors to its newly constructed expansion on July 16.

The new building is located at 3595 68th Street SE, Dutton, Michigan—next door to the brewery’s original location. It boasts two floors and an outdoor patio, and it will seat over twice as many guests as the original space.

railtown brewing

The new location’s second floor will eventually be available for private events and beer dinners.

Hungry guests of Railtown Brewing previously had to bring their own food, but the new space has a kitchen that will serve American pub grub with some cultural flavor. Dishes will take inspiration from Chinese, Korean and Dutch cuisine, to name a few.

Exposed ceilings and duct work lend an industrial feel to the new building. It will seem familiar to those who visited the original location, said Justin Buiter, co-owner of Railtown Brewing Company. Popular dart boards will still hang on the walls, and the decor will follow a similar theme.

“It takes a lot of the feel from our current space, it’s just bigger,” Buiter said.

Buiter said the expansion was built by the local community—both literally and figuratively.

In the literal sense, much of the construction on the new building was completed by local businesses.

“Most everybody involved in the project is Michigan based, but we had a lot of trades that came specifically out of Dutton,” Buiter said.

Figuratively, the expansion was built on support received from the Dutton community. When the brewery opened in 2014, Buiter said he wasn’t sure what to expect. Dutton was a dry town until 2005.

“The support from the residents and businesses of Dutton has been absolutely unbelievable,” Buiter said. “Our growth thus far has really been fueled by the local community.”

The brewery’s growth will continue, Buiter said. Railtown Brewing has also doubled their production capacity with new equipment from Psycho Brew, a Michigan-based brewing equipment company. Sights are set on distribution for Railtown Brewing in the near future.

“As we get our feet underneath us and make sure we have our taproom taken care of, we’re going to start looking at opportunities within the distribution market,” Buiter said.

The brewery will celebrate its last hurrah at the original location on Saturday, July 14. The event  will feature special beers on tap.

“All our staff will be present to reminisce about all the stuff we accomplished over here, and the future next door,” Buiter said.

winter beer festival

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich – After last week’s flooding of the Grand River in Comstock Park forced the rescheduling of the 13th Annual Winter Beer Festival, the Michigan Brewers Guild says it now has Saturday, March 3 tickets available to the previously sold out day, for $50 in advance and $55 at the gate. Tickets for Friday, March 2 are also available for $45 in advance and $50 at the gate. Online tickets can be purchased at http://www.mibeer.com/winter-festival.

Original tickets will be honored on the respective Friday and Saturday this weekend. Those unable to attend during the rescheduled weekend have until 11:59pm on Wednesday, February 28 to request a refund by emailing info@michiganbrewersguild.org.

Those traveling to the festival from the south should be advised that Northbound US-131 will be CLOSED at 28th Street (M-11) for bridge work from 9pm Friday, March 2 through 5am on Monday, March 5. Michigan Department of Transportation says northbound through-traffic should take westbound M-6 to eastbound I-196 to northbound US-131.

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 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.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

 

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich – Anticipated flooding on the Grand River in Comstock Park has forced the Michigan Brewers Guild to postpone this weekend’s popular Winter Beer Festival to next weekend, Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3. All tickets already purchased will be honored on the respective Friday and Saturday of the new weekend.

After meeting with the Whitecaps staff and taking into consideration information provided to us by the National Weather Service and the Kent County Emergency Management, the MBG Board of Directors has decided to take cautious approach and postpone the festival by a week to allow the Grand River to drop below the flood stage.

Rain is forecast for Friday morning between 5am and 10am. That will contribute to the levels of the Grand River, which is expected to crest its 18-foot flood stage on Friday afternoon and rise as much as three feet above that over the course of the weekend. The Sheriff’s Department has issued Flood Warnings for this section of the Grand River untilTuesday, February 27.

“We reviewed several contingency plans and discussed multiple options before coming to this decision,” says Scott Graham, MBG Executive Director, “but in the end the safety of our attendees, our breweries and volunteers is of utmost concern.”

Over 9,000 tickets have been sold for the festival, with a “Sell Out” status for Saturday at 6440. Friday tickets are still available for purchase for $45 in advance (www.mibeer.com/winter-festival) or $50 at the event at the main Whitecaps ticket office.

At this point, the Guild expects most of the 142-member breweries to participate in the rescheduled dates and the event to run just the same.

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 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. 

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

 

 

michigan brewers guildKALAMAZOO, Mich – The Michigan Brewers Guild recently elected its 2018 Board of Directors at its annual meeting, January 13, at the Kalamazoo Radisson Plaza Hotel. Each board position is a two-year term, elected in alternating years (4, 3).

The conference was a record-breaker in many ways for the organization, with more than 525 attendees and 112 vendors in the Allied Member Trade Show. The Guild also reported a record 245 member breweries during the Annual Meeting—an increase of 22 members since the previous January.

This year, four people were elected to the Guild board:

  • Ryan Cottongim, Owner of Witch’s Hat Brewing Company in South Lyon, was re-elected to serve his second term on the board, and will serve as the Guild’s Secretary.
  • Scott Newman-Bale, Vice President of Short’s Brewing Company in Bellaire, was re-elected to his fifth term and will once again serve as the Guild’s Treasurer.
  • David Ringler, Owner of Cedar Springs Brewing Company in Cedar Springs, was elected to his first term on the board.
  • Chas Thompson, Beer Engineer at Schmohz Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, was appointed in 2017 to fill a vacancy on the board and he was elected to his first term on the board.

Additional board members include:

  • Eric Briggeman, Director of Brewing Operations at Rochester Mills Production Brewery, continues his seventh term on the board and will serve his eleventh year as Guild President.
  • Isaac Hartman, “Ambassador of Great Beer” from New Holland Brewing Company, continues his fifth term on the board of directors.
  • Garry Boyd, Managing Partner at BarFly Ventures (HopCat & Grand Rapids Brewing) continues his second term on the board and chairs the organization’s sustainability and quality committees.

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 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.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

 

summer beer fest

In the beginning, 1997 to be precise, there were approximately 30 breweries with membership in the newly minted Michigan Brewers Guild. The purpose of their inception was to form an alliance to promote our state’s emerging beer industry and advocate in legislative matters. Two decades later, with their support and guidance, that number is 239 and growing. More than half of the current members helped celebrate this milestone anniversary at the 20th edition of Summer Beer Festival in Depot Town.

The Guild’s first sanctioned beer festival took place in their inaugural year with a couple dozen breweries and approximately 600 attendees. Eleven of those original participating breweries have returned for this year’s festival, although not all of them have been present at every festival in between.


This weekend’s celebration nearly broke the perimeter of Riverside Park and exemplified the exponential growth realized over twenty years, with more than 145 breweries serving over 1,140 beers, and a two day total crowd of 12,000 people enjoying the wealth of choices.

Several of the breweries participating in last weekend’s edition were also celebrating their 20th anniversary and have grown alongside the Guild. In 1997, Founders Brewing Company was a relatively small operation whose back door read “Canal Street Brewing.” Dark Horse Brewing Co began its first incarnation in downtown Marshall as a now-closed gastropub that would blossom into an entire compound of craft businesses in it’s second life. Dragonmead Microbrewery was formed and preparing to open. Atwater Brewery began producing German style lagers in Detroit’s historic Rivertown district, adding more locations as their range of beers expanded. CJ’s Brewing Company set up shop in Commerce Township, later opening a second location in Plymouth. Woodward Avenue Brewers began “putting the ‘ale’ in Ferndale” and hasn’t stopped. The list of breweries with proven staying power goes on.



Inevitably not every beer business succeeds. As the years have come and gone, so have some of the breweries. Fortunately for enthusiasts there’s a steady stream of new breweries willing to take their place in the game. Those new to the MBG festival circuit this summer include Transient Artisan Ales, Greyline Brewing Company, Speciation Artisan Ales, and several others. Breweries are able to participate as members when they’ve satisfied the Guild’s requirements including a waiting period.

The seasonal festivals planned in 2018 are sure to impress with steadily bigger numbers representing the ever-expanding beer scene as the Michigan Brewers Guild reaches the equivalent years of the legal drinking age in our Great Beer State. In the meantime, enjoy the remainder of Michigan Craft Beer Month and toast a hearty cheers to 20 years!