Kuhnhenn Brewing Company announces expansion plans

 

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(WARREN, Mich.) – Kuhnhenn Brewing Company is expanding into a full-scale production and packaging facility, located at 36000 Groesbeck Hwy in Clinton Township, MI. The property formerly held a Home and Garden Center retailer, but has been vacant for several years.

The 35,000 square foot building will be divided into production, cellaring, packaging and cold storage, in addition to a tasting room and administrative offices. The brewery will feature a four-vessel, 38-barrel Huppmann brewhouse and enough fermentation tanks to allow for a projected capacity of nearly 20,000 bbls (1 bbl = 31 US Gallons).

Kuhnhenn has acquired a high-speed Krones bottling line for packaging beer for the sale to retail stores, while canning is also being considered. Production and distribution of Kuhnhenn Mead will also increase, thanks to the purchase of a 24-head Gea bottling line, specifically designed for packaging wine.

Distribution of keg and case product will initially focus on Southeast Michigan, with further penetration into the rest of the state within the first year. The focus will be on four year-round brands, three seasonals, and several limited release offerings.

“This is something we’ve been wanting to do for a number of years,” stated Eric Kuhnhenn, Partner and Brewmaster of Kuhnhenn Brewing Company. “It’s exciting to think that we’ll finally begin to make at least a short-term dent in the demand that has grown for our beer.”

“Furthermore, we are extremely excited to keep the production of our beers in Macomb County, which we all call home,” stated Bret Kuhnhenn. “We hope this will draw more attention to the growing beer scene in Metro-Detroit, and contribute to the economic rebirth in Macomb County.”

With the opening of the new facility, Kuhnhenn Brewing Company is expected to hire an additional 20-30 staff members, in both production and the tasting room. The facility is projected to be operational in the first quarter of 2014. The current Warren location will remain open, with a full line of beers, and focus on the production of small-batch experimental brews, as well as an increased barrel-aging program. A Small Distillers License is also being added at the Warren location, with more information to come.

While the beer market as a whole remains relatively stagnant in Michigan and throughout the US, sales of craft beer continue to grow at exponential rates. With this growth, wholesalers and retailers are taking notice.

“We find ourselves in a unique position,” stated Jon Piepenbrok, Director of Marketing and Sales for Kuhnhenn Brewing Company. “We have built the brand and created demand for the beer; now we get to expand at a time and degree we feel comfortable. We’ve watched the industry expand with us and around us, all the while developing a plan for growth. Now we can make that jump.”

Bret and Eric Kuhnhenn began brewing their own beer in college. Kuhnhenn Brewing Company was founded in 1998, selling homebrew supplies out of the family hardware store. A Microbrewery License was granted in 2001, and the brothers began selling their beer by the pint and growler out of the Warren brewery. Their flagship, Loonie Kuhnie Pale Ale, continues to be the brewery’s best seller.

Kuhnhenn Brewing Company is consistently ranked in the top breweries in the world on beer rating websites Beer Advocate and RateBeer. They are known both for their high-gravity experimental beers, as well as their accurate interpretations of traditional styles.

The brewery has won countless awards at competitions across the world. In 2012 they were awarded a Gold Medal in the IPA category at the World Beer Cup for DRIPA (Double Rice IPA), the largest category entered and one typically dominated by large West Coast breweries. Kuhnhenn Braggot (a mead/beer hybrid) also took home a Bronze Medal in the 2012 Great American Beer Festival.

Wolverine State Brewing Company announces capacity expansion

image003(ANN ARBOR, Mich) – The Wolverine State Brewing Company is expanding for the second time in two years.  With the arrival and installation of new fermentation and conditioning tanks being added to its cellaring operation, the brewery’s production capacity is doubling.   Sales in 2012 exceeded company expectations with nearly 1100 barrels sold between retail and wholesale business.

In 2012, the company declared that it is “Leading the Lager Revolution,” and it remains one of the nation’s only lager-centric craft microbreweries with 15 different lagers currently on tap in the Tap Room. The brewery’s three flagship beers—Wolverine Premium, Dark, Amber lagers—are available in six-packs at most major grocery store chains in Washtenaw and Livingston counties including several Meijer, Whole Foods, Busch’s and Kroger stores.  In 2013 a fourth year-round bottled beer will be available:  the unique and highly sought after Gulo Gulo.  This ground-breaking beer is styled as an “India Pale Lager,” and is brewed with over 3 lbs. of hops per barrel and dry-hopped twice.

 

As a lager-centric small brewery, the Wolverine State Brewing Company is proud to push boundaries for a once-maligned segment of beers. This year, patrons will be able to try numerous new one-of-a-kind lager beers, including:

 

  • BARISTA – a brown lager made with coffee in collaboration with RoosRoast of Ann Arbor
  • REVILO – an India Red Lager
  • DRAG ME TO HELLES –  Maibock
  • GREENTHUMB – a lower alcohol, more citrusy version of the India Pale Lager, Gulo Gulo
  • CHRYSALIS – a Belgian Wit lager
  • VERANO – a Mexican style lager
  • WOOD AGED SERIES –  including a German-style bock aged on hickory and an India Pale Lager aged on soft maple.

The brewers at the Wolverine State Brewing Company hand craft every batch with care and precision and allow ample time for all the lagers to come into their own. This means that the time “from grain to glass” is much longer, and the amount of beer available for sale or purchase is less, than at ale-centric breweries.  The sales numbers can be deceiving since many ale breweries can produce and sell up to 5000 barrels with the same or similar tank capacity. But when the founders of The Wolverine State Brewing Company decided to “go all lager” they put their time, money and craftsmanship behind this unique and expensive business model.  So far, all signs point to success, with a Tap Room expansion done, and standing room only crowds most nights.

The lagers-versus-ales-debate is one of taste and preference for drinkers, but for breweries, it is a matter of business choice.  The Wolverine State Brewing Company has become a local favorite very quickly. And has more plans for expansion in the works.

Southeast Michigan homebrew club talents on display at annual Rat Fest

RatFest is Corner Brewery’s way of showing our appreciation for all of the amazing homebrewing talent in Southeast Michigan. Each year we invite multiple hom

ratfest_2013_app-01ebrewing clubs to come to Corner and demonstrate their brewing creativity on our 10 gallon brewing system, affectionately known as The Rat Pad. Clubs are encouraged to brew the most outrageous beers they can think of, for your drinking pleasure! This year’s RatFest has a few changes from past competitions. Each club will be brewing one beer that uses the same grain and yeast, but allows the brewers to get creative with their choice of hopsand additional ingredients. The clubs will also be brewing 3 other beers that they’ve selected from a predetermined list of styles. These new parameters should result in some wildly creative brews, the likes of which have never been seen!

This year we will be featuring beers from the following brew clubs: The Ann Arbor Brewers Guild Hopheads, The Ann Arbor Brewers Guild Yeasters, CraftBeerinMi, Brighton Home Brew Club, Detroit Draft Divas, Motor City Mashers, Muskrat Mashers, The Sons of Liberty, and The Ugly Mug. We will offer 36 brews that will definitely run the creative gamut.

Monroe, MI Muskrat Mashers will have four beers on tap:  

  • Bourbon Oak Brown Ale: Chocolate, vanilla, hints of oak and bourbon.
  • Chocolate Rye Porter: Delicious chocolate malt flavors with hints of rye spices.
  • Citra Bomb: Crisp grapefruit citrus flavors shine through this India Pale Ale.
  • Cayenne Cherry Rye: Tart, sweet cherry, spicy rye notes with a subtle cayenne heat finish.

Rat Fest attendees will be able to vote for their favorite beer, favorite group of beers, along with several other categories. The Rat Pad to receive the most votes will be crowned King or Queen Rat. Due to the popularity of the event, Corner Brewery will be closed to the general public during the duration of the event to provide a relaxed atmosphere for ticket holders to talk with and learn from the home brewers and just kick-back to enjoy their new favorite brew.

This year’s RatFest, held on January 26, will be bigger, better and more mindblowingly awesome than any before. The $30 ticket price includes beer samples, appetizers and a commemorative tasting glass. Tickets sold out in advance last year, so make sure you get your tickets early!

Must be 21 and show valid ID at the door to get in. Tickets are available over the phone or in person at Corner Brewery.

At the time of this post, tickets were limited. See Facebook event page for more info.

Michigan’s First Solar Brewery Goes On-Line

On June 11, 2012, Ann Arbor’s first brewpub became Michigan’s first solar brewery with a $95K solar-thermal and photovoltaic system.  Arbor Brewing Company’s sustainable energy system uses the sun’s energy to generate electricity as well as the majority of the hot water needed for brewery and restaurant operations.

The system includes a 2.4 kW solar photovoltaic array, 300 solar thermal collector tubes and a high-efficiency tankless water heater system to supplement the heat from the collector tubes when necessary. When combined with other improvements like switching to CFL and LED lighting and installing low-flow sprayers and occupancy sensors, the system is expected to offset gas usage by up to 40% and electricity usage by up to 15%.

The project grew out of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority’s (A2 DDA) Energy Conservation Grant Program which provided free energy audits and 50% project rebates (up to $20,000) to downtown businesses that implemented audit recommendations to become more energy efficient.  ABC owner Matt Greff worked with Ann Arbor DDA Energy Programs Director David Konkle as well as a consulting team from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment led by Jarett Diamond. Together they were able to identify a number of financial resources and incentives to help offset the installation cost of the system including the $20,000 grant from the DDA, a $10,000 interest-free loan from the city, a 30% tax credit from the federal government, and various incentives from DTE.

Arbor Brewing Company’s Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti is also nearing completion on its own $250,000 Green Brewery Project which includes solar-thermal, photovoltaic, and geo-thermal technologies along with other improvements like new windows and awnings and energy-efficient chiller equipment. The system has with a total system rating of 18 kW electric, and 64.8 kW thermal and is expected to provide almost all of Corner Brewery’s hot water needs and up to 15% of its electricity. We believe this to be the largest-capacity solar installation of any craft brewery East of Colorado. It is set to go online later this summer.

According to Greff the project, which took over two years to complete, was worth every bit of effort that went into it.  “It feels really good to know that we were able to make changes that are as good for the environment as they are for the bottom line.  We couldn’t have done it without the expertise and assistance we received from our many partners and we hope to be able to assist other small businesses interested in improving their energy efficiency.”

Arbor Brewing Company will be hosting a ribbon-cutting reception to celebrate the launch of the new system on 
Wednesday, July 11 from 5-7pm at the brewpub at 114 E Washington St, Ann Arbor. 
Corner Brewery will be hosting its celebration:
Wednesday, August 29 from 5-7 at 720 Norris St, Ypsilanti.
Both events are free and open to the public.

Hidden gem beer store: The Boulevard Market – Tecumseh, MI

I happened to be driving through Tecumseh, MI yesterday and stopped by one of my favorite local wineries (yes, I like wine too!) – Pentamere Winery.  Whenever I stop there and get wine, I always like to go across the street to The Boulevard Market to get some freshly made Goat Cheese.   I’ve been there a few times in the past, but completely forgot about their amazing beer selection (probably pre-MiBeerBuzz.com).

I was once again shocked by all of the unique beers they carried.  The Michigan beers I saw were various seasonals from Darkhorse Brewing.  I also saw some Bells, including the new Double IPA and Christmas Ale 09.   Since I have easy access to Michigan beer in Monroe, I snatched up some Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ (an American Strong Ale brewed with dark brown sugar).   They had a ton of other great selections, another that interested me was North Coast Brewing’s Old Rasputin.   Definitely beers you don’t see at any corner market.
The owners also suggested, if I don’t see what I’m looking for, that they could special order it for me.  They showed me an order that just came in – a Sam Adams Utopia, around $190 per bottle.

So, if you ever find yourself in Tecumseh, MI and wonder if the town has a good beer store – stop in at The Boulevard Market..  and don’t forget to try some homemade Goat Cheese while you’re there!!

Michigan Cask Ale Festival – November 14th @ Ashley’s Westland

When: Saturday, November 14th
Where: Ashley’s Westland – 7525 Wayne Rd. Westland, MI 48185 – (734) 525-1667
Hours: 2-6 p.m.
What: Michigan Cask Ale Festival – Featuring Cask Ales from Bells, Stone, Arcadia, Arbor Brewing, New Holland, Darkhorse, Founders, Livery, Dragonmead, Kuhnhen, Morland, Ruddles, Green King and more!

Price: $20 advance, $25 at the door.  Buy tickets on their website (click here)

What is Cask Ale?
Cask conditioned ale or ‘real ale’ is brewed with only traditional ingredients and allowed to mature naturally.  The unfiltered, unpasteurized beer still contains live yeast, which undergoes a secondary fermentation in the keg.  This creates a gentle natural CO2 carbonation and allows malt and hop flavors to develop, for a richer tasting drink with more character than regular keg beer.
The typical cask is 10.8 gallons and called a ‘Firkin’ though cask ale can come in any size keg.