craft beer

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, hear how Michigan hops farmers are struggling to keep up with the craft beer boom. Plus, a look ahead on the future of the Traverse City Pit Spitters baseball team.

Five years ago hops were in high demand in Michigan, so farmers started experimenting with the crop. However, as beer tastes changed and breweries went looking for the next new thing, many northern Michigan hop farmers have been unable to make ends meet.

You may know M-43 as the state road that runs through Williamston and on past Lansing, aka Grand River. But more and more beer lovers are recognizing M-43 as their favorite brew.

This New England-style India pale ale has made a world of difference for Old Nation Brewing Company, based in Williamston.

In the early 1980s, Larry Bell worked at Sarkozy Bakery in Kalamazoo. There he became interested in grains and yeast, and began experimenting with beers in his basement.

“My home brewing was getting a little out of control,” Bell said.

Bell, founder and president of Bell’s Brewery, pioneered Michigan’s reputation for making some of the nation’s boldest brews.

As Michigan's brewing industry continues to grow and flourish, we're seeing a big jump in growing hops in our state.

Consider this: Prior to 2008, Michigan hadn't had a commercial hops-growing operation for more than a century. Now, we're fourth in the nation.

Michigan’s local food movement has brought heirloom plants back into the spotlight, making for the perfect time to bring back a century-old barley strain.

Developed in 1916 by an MSU professor, “Spartan” barley is now making a comeback with the help of a team of the school's researchers.

Mason County competition stimulates local business

Jul 19, 2016

The Next Idea

For the last two years, Mason County has the Momentum Business Plan Competition, which awards $50,000 to entrepreneurs during the startup phase of their businesses. The project aims to boost entrepreneurship and small businesses within the county. Prize money is provided by local sponsors and organizations.

Exported from Michigan is a documentary film that explores the way Michiganders are employing resilience, creativity, tou

Beer is big in Michigan. The state is fifth in the nation for its number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs. This growth is creating a demand for workers to brew, serve and market all of that beer.

Schoolcraft College is launching a new brewing program this fall to help turn out those workers.

Rich Weinkauf is the Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Schoolcraft College in Livonia. And he’ll be teaching one of the courses in the new brewing and distillation technology certificate program.

The craft beer industry in the U.S. is on the rise. According to the Brewers Association, craft beer sales in the states grew 17.6% in 2014, and the number of craft breweries in Michigan has increased 51% since 2011.

With so many people jumping into the game, how’s a beer supposed to stand out?

The Next Idea 

I own a brewery in Michigan. Sometimes I still can’t believe I actually get to say that and have it be true. Thousands of home brewers and craft beer lovers from around the country aspire to do what I do -- and I know, because just eight months ago I was one of them.

There are now more than 200 licensed breweries in Michigan. And that is starting to change the rural landscape up north.

This month, an investment group in Traverse City finalized plans to plant up to 400 acres of hops. That would roughly double the amount of hops now growing in Michigan.

And it signals the arrival of big investors into the business.