It’s 6:30pm on a Wednesday evening at Rare Bird Brewpub. There are about 80 people inside drinking beer and eating dinner, and only one open table left.
"Everybody might think like, 'Oh you’re busy, you have a successful business, that means you’re rich,'” says restaurant co-owner Tina Schuett. "No. It means I’m several hundred thousands of dollars in debt for a long time out."
Tina Schuett and Nate Crane opened Rare Bird Brewpub two years ago in downtown Traverse City.
“When we just were planning this, I think there was only like five breweries in town,” says Tina. “Within the two-year span of us planning, five more breweries opened up so everybody was freaking out.”
Some of those other breweries failed but more have taken their place. There are around 10 breweries in the Traverse City area.
Not all glamor
Tina is the brewer. She also does payroll and accounting, has input on the food menu and fixes the equipment when it breaks.
She never studied to be brewmaster but she has an advantage when it comes to making beer.
“I’m from Wisconsin, they pretty much give it to you in a bottle,” she jokes.
When she was 16, she went to beer halls in Germany and liked the taste. At 18, it was legal for her to brew beer as long as she didn’t drink it.
She made her first batch in college and now her hobby is a job. But when she brews the perfect batch on the first try, she's says it’s still worth all the work.
Helen Surgenor is a news radio producer and reporter based in Toronto, Canada. She came to Interlochen in June for the Transom story workshop.