craft beer

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?

Gemma Amor / flickr-http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Hey, America! The rest of the world is wondering: What's with the bland beer?

It's no secret that the American beer market is dominated by pale, mild beer.

Despite the rising number of craft brewers here in Michigan and across the country, our best-selling beer is, you guessed it, Bud Light! Coors Light and Miller Lite come in right behind it.

Economist Ranjit Dighe wanted to figure out why Americans like bland beer.

Courtesy of One Well Brewing

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.

John Niedermaier / Brewery Terra Firma

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.

Founders Brewing Company

A 125-year-old, seventh-generation, family-owned Spanish brewery, Mahou San Miguel, has bought a 30% interest in Founders Brewing Co., based in Grand Rapids.

Founders CEO Mike Stevens said the craft brewery has succeeded in its search for a long-term partner that will allow it to thrive for many generations.  

alvimann / morguefile

Michigan craft breweries are cheering the state Legislature for passing bills to ease some state regulations.

The state House sent the bill package to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk Thursday.

One bill would double the amount of beer Michigan microbreweries could produce every year.  

Andrew McFarlane / Creative Commons

A new non-profit association is trying to strengthen the supply chain of Michigan-grown hops.

Hops are one of the main ingredients in beer. The plants grow vertically, up to 25 feet or more, so you don’t need a huge farm to grow one of the main ingredients in beer.

Rick Chapla is vice president of business development at The Right Place, an economic development group based in Grand Rapids. He sees real potential for urban farmers to try growing hops.

Bell's Brewery coming to Grand Rapids airport

Sep 15, 2013
bellsbeer.com

A popular Kalamazoo craft beer brewer will open a location soon in the Grand Rapids area.

If there's one thing that can bring state House Republicans and Democrats together, it's a batch of Michigan craft beer. 

The bi-partisan legislation would also allow larger brewers such as Bell's and Founders to open more than one location in the state.

Among other things, the House Bills 4709, 4710, 4711 would double the number of barrels that microbrewers could produce each year. 

Democratic state Representative Andy Schor says the economic impact of Michigan's craft brewers should not be underestimated. And he says the legislation would only enhance that impact.

"Right now, they're bumping up against a cap that was created 20 years ago. The industry has just lit on fire and is expanding, so we're going to allow for that expansion."

Beer and wine distributors in Michigan have long been opposed to easing restrictions on craft brewers. But after months of negotiations, they have decided to support this legislation.

*This post has been updated.

edwin.bautista / Flickr

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) - A well-known Michigan brewer is pulling out of a major beer festival because of planned political fundraising at the event.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports Bell's Brewery Inc. won't participate in this weekend's 16th Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti after the brewer's founder and president Larry Bell learned about the Protect Michigan Craft Beer Political Action Committee's plans.

Bell says he finds it "distasteful" to involve politics in the Michigan Beer Guild event.