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.