Ben solcum grinds grains for a fresh batch of beer. He is one of the brewers at Beards Brewery in Petoskey. Like a mad scientist he carefully crafts the ale that customers will enjoy when they open later this month.
"It's not the bar where you sit down and comizerate over a pint. You come in and you share a few drinks with friends, you try different flavors and explore beer regions, whether it's a pacific northwest IPA or a nice German dunkel and you get together and its something wonderful and fun," Solcum explained.
And that fun atmosphere is what Petoskey Brewing is also trying to capture. They're currently reviving an old brewery from the early 1900s. It stood with the same name, but was shut down due to prohibition. Now the surge in popularity of local craft beer has sparked its reopening next month.
"They appreciate the quality, the flavor profiles, moreso than big box brands and that's very apparent here in Michigan, Colorado, Oregon, and other states, I think the trend is towards smaller craft brews vs. mass produced brews," Petoskey Brewing President Patrick Dowd.
The trend is certainly rising here in Michigan. This year alone seven microbreweries have opened in the state and there are 73 total in operation. Now on Capitol Hill there is a pending bill that would help these small breweries succeed. The excise tax would be cut in half for businesses just like these microbrews in Petoskey.
"Excise tax is a pretty big number for any small brewery to pay and to have that cut in half, would go a long way in supporting small breweries," Dowd said.
Dowd also said that he hopes more breweries will pop up around town. He wants Petoskey to be known as a destination for craft beer. Solcum is excited by the community's newfound enthusiasm for the industry.
"The communities are really pulling back and realizing that just like coffee shops or sandwich shops or clothing stores, we can do beer local as well," Solcum said.
Next Friday Downtown Petoskey will be featuring local beers in its weekly event, Petoskey Rocks! Beards Brewery will have some of their new beers available for you to try.