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.
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
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
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