Repeal Day, Monroe and Prohibition

A state convention gathered in Utah on this date in 1933 to ratify the 21st Amendment. A three quarter majority was needed to make it official and Utah became the 36th state to do so. Making December 5 the official day the 21st Amendment was ratified. Now this date will be known as Repeal Day.
Of course history is more complicated than that and I plan on covering some of those stories in the next few months. During my research I discovered a great blog post by Kathy Warnes. It is about Monroe during the beginning of prohibition. I will share the first paragraph then link it below. It’s fun and informative.

Rumrunner Muskrat La Framboise preferred to move his bootleg whiskey stored in jute bags tied together at the tops like ears in his boat equipped with a stopper resembling a bathtub plug. He rowed along the Detroit River Highway from Ecorse to its mouth near Monroe taking orders and delivering his liquid refreshment. When a government agent or policeman spotted him and gave chase, he pulled the plug and the boat would sink. After the drama of the chase and capture died down, he’d return to his boat and dive for his liquor, or if he had a large shipment, he would bring a few friends along to help. Muskrat became as skilled as a loon diving for fish at this method of River recycling.

Bootlegging Down The Avenue de Booze

Featured Brewery Site: 1121 S. Monroe St.

1121 S Monroe

Welcome to our first Featured Brewery Site. Today we are taking a look at the old Wm. Noland & Sons building. It was once used to store excavating equipment. At 5 thousand square feet, it is large and open space with high ceilings. The location is less than a mile south of town on the edge of the city line.
The large space would give it an Original Gravity feel. The openness means you can create any design you wish. The property itself is around 2.5 acres which leaves plenty of space for parking. You will need it because there is no street parking.
The best feature of this property is the back section which runs along Plum Creek near Lake Monroe. That has unlimited potential. It can be used as a patio, a small hop garden, an area for games(volleyball, cornhole etc.) or even a sitting area similar to the Hoplot where you could have a BBQ pit and maybe a fire place which would take special permit.
The biggest problem with this property is the cost. It’s over 400k and in the end may cost around a million to make into a brewery. That is a huge investment. But if this property was done correctly it has the potential to be unique enough to make it worth the drive to our corner Michigan.

Homebrew Contest at 129 Lounge

Saugatuck Brewing Company and 129 Lounge are having a homebrew contest Saturday December 13 starting at 7 pm. The winner will brew on Saugatuck’s brewing system then have their beer on tap at 129 Lounge.
This is a really nice prize with a cash value of over 250 dollars. It would also be nice to get together with other local home brewers. Come on out to share some of your beer and if someone who is passionate about homebrewing pass this event onto them, the more the merrier. Yes, it is short notice but homebrewers also have beer ready to serve this time of year.

IMG_1108.JPG

Learn to Make Beer Event in Monroe

The Muskrat Mashers are having a “Learn to Make Beer” open to the public event this Thursday, February 9, from 6pm to 9pm at Harbor Inn & Ale. The event hopes to encourage new people to brew by having educational displays, a Q & A session with experienced homebrewers plus one lucky person will be walking away with a brand new starter kit from Adventures in Homebrewing!

Click here for the facebook page. Here is more information about this event from the Muskrat Mashers website.

If you’ve ever kicked around trying to make your own beer, we invite you to stop out to our February gathering. Our plan is to have some equipment set up, some fliers to hand out, and members of the club will be on hand to answer any questions you might have about getting started brewing. Also if you haven’t checked out Harbor Inn and Ale, they have a fantastic lineup of Michigan made beers!

The Muskrat Mashers is an informal homebrew club that meets once a month to discuss one thing: How to make beer. The group isn’t made up of a bunch of chemists or master brewers, we’re just regular people, that get together to enjoy quality beer and talk about how we made it. The club has a mix of people from newbies to seasoned brewers. We love helping new people get started with brewing, because somewhere along the way, someone experienced helped us get started.

Learn to make Beer!Thursday, February 9th 6-9pm @ Harbor Inn & Ale – Monroe, MI (click for map)

Public Welcome! Ever wonder how beer was made? Ever consider making it yourself? Stop out for an evening dedicated to how to brew your own beer. Members of the local homebrew club Muskrat Mashers will be on hand to discuss the basics of making your own beer from buying equipment and choosing a recipe to bottling or kegging the final product.

  • • Equipment and ingredient displays/discussions/handouts
  • • Discussions on how easy it is to make your own beer
  •  • Already brewing? Meet other local homebrewers!

Charlevoix Seeks Brewery

This summer I received an email from Keith Carey of the Charlevoix Downtown Development Authority. In it he mentioned the DDA’s desire to have a microbrewery in their town so I asked him if he was willing to promote it on our blog. He was.

I agree with Keith. A microbrewery would be a fantastic addition to Charlevoix. Way back in 2007 when people had computer desks and you had to text using your phone dial pad Sarah and I drove through it looking for a brewpub. While we  didn’t find one, what we found was a beautiful city ( it made the Forbes list of America’s Prettiest Towns) in both location and architecture that was bustling with shoppers perusing great shops and dining at local restaurants.

I finally “sat down” for a virtual  Q & A  with Keith this week about the prospects of a brewery in Charlevoix. Here’s what he had to say:

What type of city is Charlevoix?

Charlevoix is a city of 3,000 year round residents that typically swells to 30,000 or more during the summer months. Our community welcomes a significant number of summer residents, or “resorters”, who relocate to their summer homes in Charlevoix between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Downtown Charlevoix is nestled on an isthmus between majestic Lake Michigan and beautiful Round Lake.  Along with its beautiful water views and million-dollar sunsets, Downtown Charlevoix is most noted for its signature drawbridge which opens every hour and half hour and its truly unique waterfront shopping and dining experience.

Downtown Charlevoix is also home to the second most popular municipal marina in Michigan.  This facility, along with the two square block expanse of East Park, received a $13.5 million upgrade less than five years ago.  This massive renovation project expanded the number of full-service boat slips to 75 and included a new harbor master building and state-of-the-art outdoor performance pavilion.  The project resulted in East Park being recognized as one of only ten “Great Public Spaces for 2009” by the American Planning Association.  Charlevoix was also recently recognized as the #2 “Best Yachting Town in the World” by Yachting magazine and its readers in July 2011.

What do you see as the mutual benefits of having a brewery in Charlevoix?

Charlevoix provides an excellent opportunity for a brewery due to its loyal, year-round customer base, strong summer tourism season, unique geographic location, and vibrant events and activities calendar.

The significant upgrades to Downtown Charlevoix’s municipal marina and signature East Park also make buildings within our downtown development authority boundaries eligible for participation in Michigan’s Redevelopment Liquor License program, offering licenses at a reduced cost in exchange for private building improvement investment.

Becoming home to a brewery would broaden Charlevoix’s eatery inventory and aid us in our efforts to make our downtown a must-stop destination for dining and entertainment.

Any brewer would want to know if your water source is Lake Michigan. Is that the case?

Yes, homes and businesses within the Charlevoix city limits, including Downtown Charlevoix, receive their filtered and treated water directly from Lake Michigan.

Can anyone interested in opening a brewery contact you?

I’d welcome any opportunity to speak with folks interested in opening a brewpub here in Charlevoix (or any other business, for that matter).  I can be reached by calling 231 547-3257 or emailing kcarey@cityofcharlevoix.org.  If someone simply wants to learn more about Downtown Charlevoix, they can visit our webpage at www.DowntownCharlevoix.com or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DowntownCharlevoix.

I would like to thank Keith for taking part in this short Q&A. I wish you luck in finding a brewer to make Charlevoix their home.

Homebrew beer segment on NPR

With over 80 commercial breweries, Michigan ranks fifth nationwide in the number of craft beer brewers. The widespread popularity and availability of craft beer has inspired many Southwest Michigan residents to start brewing their own beer at home, as WMUK’s Cody Musselman reports:

(Sound of bottle opening)

According to the American Homebrewer’s Association there are roughly 750,000 home brewers in the United States. More and more residents in the Kalamazoo area are also trying their luck at brewing beer.

Click here to read article or listen to audio segment.

2 Interesting Beer Reads

Rob passed two articles on to me that I thought were interesting. He would have posted them himself but he is too busy being our homebrew club president and tomorrow is our meeting. The first is from the Washington Post and is an article about their upcoming Beer Madness 2011. It is definitely worth the read.

The second is a press release from the National Beer Wholesalers Association and is about the economic importance of the business of beer. Since it is from NBWA it is a  slanted (toward the distributor) look at the Michigan brewing industry.  It downplays the breweries and I find it hard to believe that the 80 plus Michigan breweries only employ 484 people. It  is posted below.  It’s definitely an interesting read if nothing else. The timing of this press release at a time when state governments are looking for new revenue streams can’t be coincidental.

New Study Shows Beer Industry Contributes $5.2 Billion Annually to Michigan’s Economy

 Despite Economic Downturn, Data Shows Quality Jobs, Solid Wages, and Overall Economic Impact in Michigan

 WASHINGTON, March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new economic impact study shows America’s beer industry, made up of brewers, beer importers, beer distributors, brewer suppliers and retailers, directly and indirectly contributes $5.2 billion annually to Michigan’s economy. Commissioned by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Beer Institute, the study shows that the industry generates nearly 56,437 jobs in Michigan – which accounts for $1.8 billion in wages and benefits. The industry also contributed $1.1 billion in the form of business, personal and consumption taxes in 2010.

 “As independent businesses, America’s 3,300 licensed beer distributors are proud to provide more than 98,000 quality jobs with solid wages and great benefits to employees in every state and congressional district across the country,” said Larry Del Papa, president and CEO of Del Papa Distributing Company, Inc. in Galveston, Texas, and chairman of NBWA. “Beer distributors are deeply rooted in their local markets, so it’s only natural that they work hard to keep their communities safe – especially by fighting underage drinking and drunk driving.”

 “Brewers across the country, large and small, remain an integral part of their communities. Not only do they promote alcohol responsibility programs for local retailers, schools and families in Michigan, but, as this new study shows, they also create sustainable jobs and important tax revenues that contribute to our nation’s economy,” said Dave Peacock, president of Anheuser-Busch and chairman of the Beer Institute. “America’s brewing industry continues to play a significant role in supporting the economy in each and every state.”

 According to the study, the beer industry directly employs 36,154 people in Michigan, paying them $926.9 million in wages. The 130 beer distributors in Michigan employ 3,163 people. Large and small brewers and beer importers employ approximately 484 people. Beer sales help support roughly 32,506 jobs at licensed retailers, which include supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, bars, stadiums and other outlets.

 “In addition to providing quality jobs with solid wages, the three-tier beer distribution system provides transparency and accountability while offering American consumers with tremendous choice and variety – nearly 13,000 different labels of beer – at a great value,” added NBWA President Craig Purser. “This time-tested, effective system of state controls, in which America’s beer distributors play a critical role, works to ensure alcoholic beverages are sold only to licensed retailers who in turn are responsible for selling only to adults of legal drinking age,” added NBWA President Craig Purser.

 “These numbers demonstrate that our industry continues to play an integral role in providing jobs and revenue necessary to heal our recovering economy,” said Joe McClain, president of the Beer Institute. “For this reason, it is important that state and federal officials consider equitable tax policies that do not unduly harm an industry that aids economic growth.”

 Nationally, the beer industry directly and indirectly contributes more than $223 billion annually to the U.S. economy and provides more than 1.8 million jobs – generating nearly $71.2 billion in wages and benefits. The industry also paid $44.7 billion in business, personal and consumption taxes in 2010. Consumption taxes included $3.6 billion in federal excise taxes and $1.7 billion in state excise taxes and $5.9 billion in state and local sales taxes. 

 In addition to strengthening the U.S. economy, the industry plays a vital role in promoting responsible consumption of its products. Brewers, importers, and independent beer distributors, licensed at both the state and federal levels, dedicate significant resources to develop public safety, education and prevention campaigns and to promote federal and local programs to help reduce underage drinking and drunk driving. These efforts, along with those of parents, law enforcement, federal and state alcohol beverage regulators, educators, and other community groups, have helped contribute to declines in underage drinking and drunk driving for nearly three decades, according to government data.

 The Economic Impact study was conducted by John Dunham & Associates based in New York City and covers data compiled in 2010. The complete study, including state-by-state and congressional district breakdowns of economic contributions, is available at Beer Serves America, www.BeerServesAmerica.org

 The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents the interests of 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributor operations in every state, congressional district and media market across the country. Beer distributors are committed to ensuring alcohol is provided safely and responsibly to consumers of legal drinking age through the three-tier, state-based system of alcohol regulation and distribution. To learn more about America’s Beer Distributors, visit http://www.nbwa.org.

 The Beer Institute, established in 1986, is the national trade association for the brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. The Institute is committed to the development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility: www.beerinstitute.org.

SOURCE  National Beer Wholesalers Association

National Beer Wholesalers Association

CONTACT: Andrew Koneschusky, Beer Institute, +1-202-777-3553; or Emily Kuhn, NBWA, +1-202-289-2001

Web Site: http://www.BeerServesAmerica.org

Erie Bread Company and Spent Grains from Local Homebrew Club

<div class=\"postavatar\">Erie Bread Company and Spent Grains from Local Homebrew Club</div>

A new bakery opened up in town and I have gained about ten pounds since the first bread came out of the oven. Not sure if it is causation or just correlation but I am sure that they make some great bread. I love the sourdough olive bread and the pepperoni rolls make a great lunch. Erie Bread Company is the artisan bakery I hoped we would always have in my hometown. And of course the olive bread, did I mention that they have olive bread?

This Saturday, November 27, is Muskrat Mashers day at Erie Bread Company. All card carrying members of the local homebrew club will get 10% off on bread. The bigger news is that they will be selling fresh baked bread using Muskrat Masher’s spent grain from Friday’s brewing sessions.  You do not have to be a member to purchase the bread.

My Black Friday plan is to brew an American wheat and as soon as it hits the boil, bag  up my spent grains and drive it to the bakery. Any Muskies, I am pushing for that as our club’s nickname, that are brewing today can do the same.

Saturday’s plan is to go and buy the spent grain bread. It should go great with chili and aid in the masking of the bitter taste of another Michigan loss to Ohio State. It won’t be the good bitter taste measured in IBUs. It will be the bad bitter taste from the bile trying to escape through your gullet.

“Locally Buzzed” Showing at Original Gravity

Original Gravity will be having a special showing of “Locally Buzzed” on Saturday the 4. It is a documentary about 8 people that travel to 50 Michigan breweries in 8 days. I can’t imagine pulling this off. Sarah and I took a similar trip a few years ago and if it wasn’t for the great people at Schmohz brewery I wouldn’t have made it through day 7. And that was a little less than thirty breweries.

Here are the details…

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT SHOWING!!
OG Beer and Movie Night September 4 @ 8:30pm
“Locally Buzzed”
Kick back and enjoy a pint of your favorite OG beer and enjoy this NEW local documentary about the Great Beer State fo Michigan!!
www.locallybuzzed.com

Beer brewing demonstrations – May 1st – Harbor Inn & Ale

When:  Saturday May 1st 2009 – 10AM-4PM
Where: Harbor Inn & Ale – Monroe, MI
Info: MuskratMashers.com

In 1988, May 7th was announced before Congress as National Homebrew Day. The American Homebrewers Association created Big Brew as an annual event to celebrate National Homebrew Day not only in the United States, but around the world. Big Brew is held each year on the first Saturday in May. – AHA

Join Monroe, MI local homebrewing club Muskrat Mashers as they brew several batches of beer in the parking lot of Harbor Inn & Ale, located on Laplaisance Road in Monroe, MI. Handouts will be available for anyone interested in learning the hobby, as well as open invitations to future Muskrat Mashers meetings.  Local brewers are welcome to join us – please contact us at the email below for info.

Brewing kicks off at 10AM and will last most of the day. Stay for lunch @ Harbor Inn & Ale and enjoy one of their many Michigan made craft beers on tap.

For more information, see http://muskratmashers.com/ or email muskratmashers@gmail.com