In 2005, Maryanne and Paul traveled throughout Michigan for their book, Michigan Breweries. At the time, there were 78 breweries in the state. The brewery count remained flat for several years, increased to the low 90s, in 2009-10, and then…
Scott Graham, the executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild, had an unusual confession to make to Bridge magazine correspondent Rick Haglund: “I have no idea how many breweries are under construction. I used to know about everyone.” The Guild estimates that there are 140 craft breweries in Michigan, and a spokeswoman from the state’s Liquor Control Commission says that there 48 license applications are pending.
Bell’s Brewing, which opened for business years before Michigan issued microbrewer licenses, is seventh in production among U.S. craft breweries; and Founders Brewing Company, which had maxed out its capacity at 5,000 barrels at its original location in 2005, now ranks 30th.
Currently, Michigan ranks fifth in the nation in the number of breweries, and is the only state east of the Rockies in the top five.
On Saturday, tickets went on sale for the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Winter Beer Festival in Grand Rapids. The online allocation is already sold out, but a limited number of tickets are available at select breweries, bars, and stores.
The festival will take place February 23.
On this day in 1881, the most famous gunfight in Old West history took place at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. It was fought between outlaws Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and his brother Frank; and lawmen Virgil Earp, his brothers Morgan and Wyatt, and temporary deputy Doc Holliday.
And now….The Mash!
We begin in Detroit, which hosts the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Fall Beer Festival this weekend. It’s a perfect time to read Bill Loomis’s story about the city’s hard-drinking past.
Not everyone associates “green beer” with St. Patrick’s Day. Roxanne Palmer of the International Business Times updates us about America’s most environmentally-friendly breweries.
This week’s fun fact: the barley genome is almost twice the size of that of human beings. But a new, high-resolution draft of the genome could someday pay off in the form of higher-quality beer.
Does that beer you’re drinking taste nasty? Jay Brooks, who judges beer when he’s not writing about it, explains what causes the ten most common off-tastes in beer.
Actor Will Ferrell, the star of Old Milwaukee beer commercials that ran in cities like Davenport, Iowa, has shot four new–and silly–Old Milwaukee ads that will run in Sweden.
Ohio’s Winking Lizard beer bars will stop serving Bud Light and Miller Light because it has grown tired of the big breweries’ price hikes. Yuengling Light will replace those brands.
Finally, Andy Crouch, who has attended the past 16 Great American Beer Festivals, is concerned that the festival is getting too big. He offers a ten-point plan to improve future events.
For some years, the southeast Michigan community of Ypsilanti has hosted the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Summer Festival. The festival has grown and thrived at city-owned Riverside Park, with last year’s event drawing 9,000 people and 50 Michigan-based breweries.
Ypsilanti’s city fathers have noticed the crowds. On Tuesday, Council approved a five-percent tax on tickets to events held at city parks, which adds up to $15,000 in tax revenue from the beer festival alone. Worse yet, the tax rises to ten percent starting in 2013.
Needless to say, the brewing community isn’t happy, and there’s even a possibility that the Guild will look for a new home for future Summer Festivals.
According to the Michigan Brewers Guild’s blog, its annual Winter Beer Festival is expected to sell out again. It takes place two weeks from today at the Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids.
The festival, whose catch-phrase is “Mock Winter,” is an outdoor event. Beer tents will be set up in the right field parking lot, along with an entertainment stage and a food tent. If wind and weather conditions permit, there will also be a bonfire to help keep festival-goers warm. The Guild expects about 50 breweries–the highest number ever–to take part.
If we run across a beer list (the Guild expects more than 300 different beers to be poured), we’ll post it here. In the meantime, here’s last year’s festival program.
Update #1: Here’s a partial list of breweries and beers. The Guild will be adding to it in the days to come.
Update #2. It’s a sellout! From the Guild’s blog, “The Mash”:
The 2010 Winter Beer Festival is now Sold Out! On-line ticket sales have been cut-off, and other than a limited number of tickets that remain at select ticket outlets there will be no other tickets available.
The Michigan Brewers Guild has announced Saturday February 27 as the date for their 2010 Winter Beer Festival. The location will be outside Fifth Third Ball Park in Comstock, where is near Grand Rapids.
The annual event will held between noon and 5 p.m. (one hour earlier for Enthusiast Club members). Tickets are $35 in advance, or $40 if their are any still available at the gate.
Thus far, 40 Michigan breweries have committed to bring over 200 beers.
While Paul and Maryanne were knocking back a few beers and watching football last night, Ludwig was busy finding festival news:
Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer News spent part of his day at the Bistro’s Barrel Aged Fest. The Hayward, CA, establishment served more than 70 beers, and Jay describes a few of his favorites.
George Wendt of “Cheers” fame was the guest of honor at The Big Pour, a festival held in Scottsdale, AZ this weekend. The event was sponsored by Draft magazine.
The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Beer Buddha visited last weekend’s All-Colorado Beer Festival. The event raised $10,000 for local charities.
Australian journalist Blair Richards reports on the growth of the Tasmanian Beer Festival. The festival, which began four years ago as an assignment for a Tasmanian hospitality school, has become a major draw for beer travelers.
“Girly Drinks” reviews last month’s Michigan Brewers Guild Harvest Festival at Royal Oak-based blog The Urbane Life. The Harvest Festival is one of two new festivals added by the Guild to its 2009 festival schedule (the other was the UP Oktoberfest). The Guild’s next event is the Winter Beer Festival at Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids. It will take place on February 27, 2010.