Beer is big business in Michigan

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:32 PM

Spring Lake already is home to Old Boys' Brewhouse and VanderMill, and Odd Side Ales brews in downtown Grand Haven. A couple plan to open Dutch Girl Brewery in Spring Lake next year.

Read the related story: "New microbrewery on tap for SL"

With each drop comes a tangible economic trickle-down effect. These breweries purchase many local and Michigan products to fortify their recipes. They add jobs, attract tourists, and create a gathering place for locals to hash out ideas and plunk down cash in the process.

The Michigan Brewers Guild estimates that there are more than 140 breweries in the state, more than double the amount of 10 years ago. In 1993, there were only four such breweries in Michigan.

The craze has fermented so much in West Michigan that Grand Rapids was voted “Beer City USA" earlier this year.

Old Boys' got things hopping in Northwest Ottawa County when it opened in 1997, followed by VanderMill close to a decade later and Odd Side Ales in 2010.

According to Michelle Grinnell, spokeswoman for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the state's craft beer industry has grown by 20 percent in the past year, pouring $133 million into the state's economy.

“The brewers in Michigan are producing a really quality product,” Grinnell said. “People come to special releases from all over the country. It's a great anchor for tourists coming in, even if the reason they're traveling is not craft beer. Come visit our beaches, do some shopping and have a great Michigan craft beer while you're here.”

Spring Lake Township resident Lukas Hill likes to do just that. He said after tasting craft offerings in the area, his taste for commercial beer sours.

“These craft breweries and cider mills, their flavors have much more character to them,” Hill said. “Every one you try has a different flavor. It's unique, it's home-grown stuff. It's just more flavorful."

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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