Northern Michigan Craft Beer

Every city needs a “special something” that draws people in and leaves them wanting to come back for more. With a big push in the last few years for tourism throughout the state, many towns are now getting creative in their attempt to invest in northern Michigan. One of the newer, but quickly booming industries, is local craft breweries and tap houses. Northern Michigan has so much to offer – from lakes to forests to ski hills – no matter the season, there’s something for everyone. But at the end of the day, those same people whom were out boating or skiing will want a refreshing drink to go along with a nice meal. That’s exactly what breweries can now offer.

Craft beer brewing is an industry that’s popping up all over Michigan. According to a recent article in USA Today, Michigan now ranks 5th in the country as a top craft beer state, with over 100 breweries. Another study showed the industry provided $2 billion to Michigan’s economy – a number that’s sure to rise as more breweries open around the state. Not only does it bring in more money to the economy, but thousands of jobs are provided, too. Nearly 40,000 people work in the craft brew business. All around, this industry offers so much more than just a delicious drink, it offers opportunities for both individuals and the state.

Cadillac, Michigan is a small town of about 10,000 people. During the winter, it’s all about skiing or snowboarding at Caberfae Peaks. In the summer, Lake Cadillac and Lake Mitchell are the place to be. But it’s an everyday question from locals and tourists, what’s there to eat or drink? Not a lot. Sure, there’s every typical fast-food, a few chain sit-downs and even fewer locally owned and operated restaurants. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of memorable places to enjoy. One of the few unique restaurants in Cadillac is the Shay Station. Though, soon it will be no more. Businessman and Cadillac native, Dan Minor, recently bought the Shay with plans to turn it into the city’s first brewery. The new building will be named, “Clam Lake Beer Co.” The plan is to have it house 20 craft beers, plus your typical domestic drinks, and their own brewed beer. At first, many were worried the Shay Station atmosphere and food so many people loved, would be gone. But that’s not Minor’s plan. His plan is to expand the menu but keep the majority the same. Not only will the food be the same, the staff will be too. Minor wants to keep the hard working staff of 13 as is, but also plans to add an additional 30 employees to help with the brewing process.

The original brews will be produced in the upstairs of the historic downtown building. The brew master will be Adam Harden, Minor’s son-in-law. Minor says Harden has over 100 original recipes. He’s excited to not only share the unique tastes of Harden’s beer, but his clever craft beer names, too. It’s not just about owning another business for Minor, the real reason he decided to open a brewery was because he could see how quickly craft beer is growing in the state, and he wanted to do his part in bringing tourism to Cadillac. Minor is hopeful bringing Clam Lake Beer Company to town will attract people from all over, and when they arrive to town, they’ll see how beautiful Cadillac is and how much it has to offer.

Now that the building sale has officially gone through, the switchover will begin to happen. At the moment, there’s no rush for Minor because he still has to wait for his liquor license to get approved. That could take up to 3 months, but he hopes to have the brewery up and running by summertime.

For more on the USA Today article, click the link below:
USA Today – Top Craft Beer States

If you’re interested in the process of obtaining a liquor license and all that it entails, a link to Michigan’s law is attached:
MI Liquor License Law

Shay Station

People around Cadillac are excited for the new brewery to open. Eric Malewitz and Crystal McNally think this will bring added tourism through the downtown area, boosting the town’s economy and showcasing all the town has to offer.

Most Popular Craft Beers Brewed in Michigan:
#1 Bells Expedition Stout (Bells Brewery – Kalamazoo)
#2 Bells Black Note Stout (Bells Brewery – Kalamazoo)
#3 Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (Founders Brewing Company – Grand Rapids)
#4 B. Nektar Ken Schramm Signature Series – The Heart of Darkness (B. Nektar Meadery – Ferndale)
#5 Bells Hopslam (Bells Brewery – Kalamazoo)
#6 Founders Breakfast Stout (Founders Brewing Company – Grand Rapids)
#7 Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Plead the 5th Imperial Stout (Dark Horse Brewing Co. – Marshall)
#8 Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock (Kuhnhenn Brewing – Warren)
#9 Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel French Toast Mead (Kuhnhenn Brewing – Warren)
#10 Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Fourth Dementia (4D) Old Ale (Kuhnhenn Brewing – Warren)
*Information from RateBeerian

Northern Michigan Breweries shows a map pinpointing some of the most popular beer companies in northern Michigan

We want to know Craft or Domestic? Please follow the link to vote!


College Major Poll

Going along with my post from March 26th, I’ve created a poll. I need a little help from all of you though. I’m curious as to what you studied in college. The top 5 categories from Central Michigan are included as options, plus undecided/other.

Polls are a great resource for many reasons. First, it breaks down that fourth wall and lets me interact with all of you. Plus, it helps me learn more about what the popular trends may be at this time. Creating a poll can add a great element to a news story that may be creating controversy or just be a hot topic at the time.

I hope you’ll take a minute to click the link below and participate in my poll to help me learn a little more about you and what’s going on in the current educational world!

2012 Best Small Business Award: Dog Central

Here it is: my first video news package. It was not as easy as I had hoped. There were several technical difficulties throughout the process, but it’s finished. The quality isn’t what I pictured, but for the resources I had to use, I guess it’s okay. It features a local restaurant, Dog Central, who was named 1 of 12 best small businesses in Michigan for 2012. Hope you enjoy! 

Infographic Breakdown

We're learning about infographics in my online journalism class. It's an area that I don't have much experience with.. especially doing the actual creating of the graphics. Of course, I made a few charts back in my high school days but that was long ago. So I jumped back into it tonight using a new tool, Google ChartEditor. I decided to look at the different majors offered at Central Michigan University and the percentage of students working toward a degree in that area.


Here's a Google Map of Central Michigan University, located in Mt. Pleasant, MI

Charts, graphics, timelines can all be really helpful when telling journalistic stories; but I also think they can hinder content too. If kept simple and relevant, they're great. Unfortunately, I've come across a lot of infographics that provide nothing but a headache for the reader.

Make it Emotional

I’m a sucker for a well told, heartwarming story. I came across a video on CNN called, One Handed Violinist Plays, Helps Others I was excited to watch it. I thought it would be a great emotional and inspiration piece. Unfortunately, for me, that was not totally the case. The story is about violinist, Adrian Ananawan, who was born without a right forearm and hand. He’s now helping others with disabilities, using music and technology to give them a new way to learn and interact with peers. Now, don’t get me wrong, Adrian is an inspiration, but I don’t think the story was told as well as it could have been. It really lacked visuals and emotion.

The video started straight off with the interview, it definitely would have caught my attention more if it began with Adrian playing his violin. The interview is held in an empty auditorium, which I guess is cool because it gives viewers a sense of where he performs; however, the only supporting video is of him playing for the camera. There are shots of Adrian working with other disabled students, but not much. The story does not really have a beginning, middle and end. It starts with Adrian telling of the time he met the Dalai Lama but then jumps back to why he plays and why he helps others. I felt it was lacking a full storyline. It was just kind of scattered thoughts, especially that he started with the Dalai Lama story, then went to how he got started playing, then to what he does now and back to how he plays with half of an arm. It just didn’t seem to flow well to me. The shots used in the piece are well done. There’s a wide variety of wide, medium and close shots to establish the setting, present the main character and show detail.

The story is a great idea, but I think would be more effective to viewers if it was told with a reporter track to better explain and make the story flow better. Video-wise, I would have shot b-roll of him performing for an audience. Also, as extra sound, I think another interview with either student’s he has worked with or others that he has performed with would add great sound. He has likely had a big impact on the lives of others, but without talking to those people, the viewers can’t put that into perspective. It would add a huge amount of emotion, in my opinion. Overall, the story idea is there but it just needs some help bringing out the emotion and extra detail to make it a truly great and heartwarming story I was hoping it would be.

LA Times Audio Slideshow

The slideshow I viewed, “A Boy’s Struggle,” was about a young boy who was molested by a teacher aide and in-home tutor. The story tells of how he and his family have coped with recovering from the scarring event through the years. At the beginning, the viewer learns about the criminal case the man faced for his actions, this was presented through full-screen text. Then the story began about how the boy revealed the secret to his family, and ended with how the boy and the family are coping with moving on from this situation.

The first photograph is very appropriate for how the story begins. It shows the boy lying in bed and it appears his mom is getting ready to tuck him in when the boy says he has a secret to tell her. The final image is of the boy opening a door to walk out of – either of his house or of his room may be a depiction of him trying to leave that behind and move on from it. There was a good range of shots throughout the slideshow. I noticed the photographer did a great job using the rule of thirds in her shot composition. Some of my favorites showed the bond between the boy and his mother. However, I did notice that neither of their full faces were ever shown – likely for privacy reasons. Also, some images were extremely blurry. This was likely the photographers intention, but it didn’t appeal to me. The slideshow includes music at the start and finish, while it’s strictly voiced by the interviews of the boy and his mother. Using only the interviewees provides the emotional connection for viewers when they watch the slideshow. The pacing of the slideshow was perfect. It didn’t go too fast or too slow. The change of pictures matched with the voicing and it made the entire piece flow really well. It did not have captions during it, but did have full-screen text at the beginning to explain the situation and the legal path the case has taken. The man who touched the boy is identified, but the mother and son are not identified by name, however it is clear the story is about them and that they are the two speaking and pictured.

Overall, this is a great audio slideshow. It’s a very sad story and you can hear the emotion in their voices. The only thing I would have done differently is with the photographs. As I said earlier, some were blurry – which again may be the style of the photographer – but I did not care for it. I also would have included more emotional photos to accompany the emotional testimony from both mother and son.

Here is a link to the story:,0,3436771.htmlstory

Day in the Life of a Graduate Assistant

Last semester I took part in the producing class for News Central 34. It was by far one of my favorite classes I’ve taken in my 4 years of college. There are two Graduate Assistants that help with the production of each show, Makenzie and Eric. I interviewed Makenzie to learn more about her duties with NC34 and how she got picked to be a Central Michigan Graduate Assistant.

Blog Recommendations

This is my first blog but I’m no stranger to reading other people’s blogs. There are so many uses for blogs, whether it is to gain more knowledge on a topic, keep up to date with a friend’s life or just a fun read – there’s literally a blog for everyone. I’m going to share two of my favorite blogs that I currently follow.

The first blog I followed is called “Survive your Job in Television News.” I’ve followed this blog for quite some time.  It’s directed toward journalists and others working in the wild world of TV news. The author, Beth Johnson, writes great blogs on the dos and don’ts of live television and gives great tips to those of all ages in the newsroom. The blogger does a wonderful job of keeping the articles short and sweet. They get to the point, but have enough details that the reader feels satisfied. The blogger also keeps the reader involved with the story.  Beth asks questions that really make you answer them in your head and makes you realize how much these topics relate to your life if you’re in the industry of broadcast news.

One downfall to the site is that it doesn’t appear to have a section for public comments. I think this would be a great forum to allow people to chime in with their thoughts on the articles. Interaction would let other opinions on the topics be heard. I know Beth does interact and post the blogs through Twitter to get reaction, but it would be more convenient to have a comments section on the actual blog. Despite that, I thoroughly enjoy the blog because it offers such great real-world experience tips, especially for someone just starting out in the television news world. It’s an effective blog because I think everyone working in news can relate to what Beth’s talking about and learn something from each article.

The blog also has a super simple search method. There is, of course, the usual search bar but aside from that there is a pool of words on the left-hand side of the page with keywords to select from. They include: anchor, reporter, interview, producing, job hunting, journalism, etc. If the reader is looking for an article on a specific topic, this is a great and easy way for them to narrow down their search. The blog also connects to several social media outlets so people reading the articles can share with others. This is a great way to connect and share with people who share the same interests as you.

There’s not a whole lot I don’t like about this blog site. It’s one of the very few that I continually come back to. The only real changes I would make, as stated several times before, is adding a comment section. Comments are a great way to strike up conversation, which in turn can lead to other thoughts and story ideas. The page is also a little plain, so I may add a little more color. However, the simplicity isn’t totally a bad thing. It makes the site easy on the eyes and simple to navigate. If you’re interested in learning more about the news industry, I highly recommend checking out!

The second blog I follow pretty regularly is the blog of WAND 17 (Decatur, IL) News Anchor Stacey Skrysak cleverly named “Skry’s the Limit.” Her blog is linked through WAND’s website as a special feature for viewers. Stacey has worked at several news stations across the mid-west, including at the station I currently work at. We did not work there at the same time but we have connected with each other through social media.

Stacey’s blog is mostly focused on letting viewers get to know her outside of the studio. A lot of her posts are more about her personal life. While there isn’t a wealth of knowledge to gain from a blog like this, I find it interesting to get a peek into the life of someone who is viewed as a public figure.  I think it’s a great idea that this blog is connected through the television news station’s own website. Some may view this as unprofessional, but I think most people enjoy being able to see inside the life of a public figure. It lets them think they’re connected on a more personal level, which in my opinion, boosts the station’s viewership loyalty.

Stacey does a great job of mixing up the type of stories she posts. Some are about family, pets, others are about baking and work life. There are occasional posts that talk about more serious issues, but for the most part they’re all pretty light-hearted.  Her writing is quick and to the point. She also includes pictures with almost every blog which adds an extra personal touch for readers.  One post in particular hits extra close to home. The direct link to the post is attached at the end of this paragraph and is the very last post on the page. That news anchor she speaks of was a co-worker of mine, and a man I grew up watching and a man who umped many of my softball games. It was an incredibly difficult time for our news family, and even though Stacey probably hasn’t seen him in 4 or 5 years, she does a great job of putting his impact and life into perspective for others who may or may not have known him.

Unlike my first blog recommendation, this one does have a place for comments. However, rather than be attached to each individual post, they’re located at the bottom of the page. It’s nice that there is a place for comments but by having it at the bottom of the page for all stories, it makes it harder for viewers to strike up conversation on a specific story. Overall, “Skry’s the Limit” may not appeal to everyone since many people may not care to read about someone they don’t know. That’s understandable. But if you’re looking for a light-hearted look into the life of a news anchor, give it a read at