Amber Stout’s parents had no idea that craft beer would become popular when they named her in 1990. Amber, who worked in this hospitality industry in college, began getting comments about her name tag while serving drinks. She told an MLive.com reporter, “I walked into Founders once and the guy checking IDs said ‘well, it looks like you’re in the right spot,’” she said. The staff must have liked her: she’s pictured holding a pint of Breakfast Stout in one hand, and a pint of Red’s Rye Ale in the other.
Seventy-five years ago today, The Hobbit was published. Author J.R.R. Tolkien drew inspiration for his classic fantasy from the pints of ale he drank in the Rabbit Room at the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, England.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Founders’ “Stout Season” is underway. The brewery has three million bottles of Breakfast Stout ready for distribution.
Remember Asahi Super Dry beer? Hirotaro Higuchi, the brewery’s president who launched the beer in 1987, has passed away. Super Dry made Asahi Japan’s top-selling brewery.
Chris Hansen, who wants to bring the NBA back to Seattle, bought beers for everybody at F.X. McRory’s to celebrate a favorable vote for a new arena in the Emerald City.
People in Madison, Wisconsin, love their beer, but some residents are up in arms over beer ads on city buses.
How do you celebrate becoming the first person to run the length of Australia’s 5,330-kilometer (3,312-mile) Bicentennial Trail? If you’re Richard Bowles, who accomplished that feat, you order a beer.
Since 1885, steam-powered “Skunk” trains have chugged through California’s Mendocino County. Once a year, Lagunitas Brewery takes over the train for a friends-and-family outing through redwood country.
Finally, Nicholas Kuznetz set out to answer a burning question: How cold does a can of Coors Light have to get before the mountains turn blue?
For years, Michigan has suffered from a terrible economy, with high unemployment and a list of bankruptcies headed by General Motors. Despite all that, the craft brewing industry keeps growing. The Great Lake State now ranks fifth nationally in the number of breweries, with more than 80 in operation and several more about to open. Craft beer has found its way into bars and grocery stores, and distributors have become more willing to handle it.
Many of the leading craft breweries have ambitious expansion plans. Perhaps the most impressive story of all is that of Grand Rapids’ Founders Brewing Company. When we visited the brewery in 2005 for our Michigan Breweries book, its production was in the range of 4,000 barrels a year. This year, Founders expects to produce more than times that amount; and is facility could someday be turning out 150,000 barrels a year–a few thousand shy of the Bell’s Brewery, which has ranked number one in production for many years.
Craft beer accounts for 4 percent of the Michigan market, a considerably smaller market share than in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, the only four states ahead of it in the number of breweries. Which means there’s plenty of room for more breweries and further expansion.
Congratulations to everyone who won medals at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. We’d like to tip our hats to the seven Michigan breweries that will bring home a total of ten medals from this year’s competition:
Nice job, everyone!
Maryanne and Paul live less than 30 miles from the Canadian border, and have crossed it numerous times to enjoy theater (Stratford); city life (Toronto); and, of course, craft beer (just about anywhere).
Turns out that cross-border goes both ways: there are Canadians who cross the border to drink Michigan beer. One of them is Sandra MacGregor, a food and travel writer for the Ottawa Citizen.
Her mission: to find Canadian Breakfast Stout, which got its name because it’s aged in barrels formerly used for maple syrup. It was waiting for her at Founders Brewing Company, where a marketing person told her, “we don’t necessarily encourage you to drink it for breakfast.”
MacGregor’s travels in the Great Lakes State also took her to Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo and the Jolly Pumpkin Cafe and Brewery in Ann Arbor. She didn’t reveal how much Michigan beer she brought back with her. Though she did point out that it can’t be found at liquor stores in Ontario.
Here they are: the winners of the 2010 World Beer Cup
Our home state of Michigan gave a good account of itself at the competition, with 11 medals, two of them gold.
Michigan beers and breweries that made the winners’ circle were Bastone Brewery (Saison du Bastone); Big Rock Chop House & Brewery (Norm’s Raggedy-Ass IPA and Bonnie’s Raggedy-Ass Imperial IPA); The Detroit Beer Company (The Detroit Dwarf); Founders Brewing Company (Centennial IPA, Dirty Bastard, Founders Porter, and Imperial Stout); Kuhnhenn Brewing Company (Fourth Dementia Olde Ale); Redwood Brewing Company (Cream Stout); and Short’s Brewing Company (Black Licorice Lager).