The Michigan Brewers Guild presented Representative Pauline Wendzel with its inaugural Defender of Michigan Beer Award at its annual conference Thursday night, January 12, 2023, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo.
The Defender of Michigan Beer Award was introduced in 2023 and recognizes a legislator who is important to the industry for their own distinct service and commitment. State Rep. Pauline Wendzel has consistently been a supporter of the Michigan beer industry. Recognizing the contribution that breweries have made to the state, she has sponsored legislation and been a proponent for our causes. She has engaged with breweries both inside and outside of her district and has taken the time to understand our member businesses and their individual and collective needs.
“We are pleased to present the very first Defender of Michigan Beer Award to Rep. Wendzel,” says Scott Graham, MBG Executive Director. “We recognize her continued engagement and applaud her personal commitment to discovering the nuances and flavors of our industry.”
Rep. Pauline Wendzel was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in November 2018. She currently represents Michigan’s newly drawn 39th House District, which includes Coloma, Watervliet and Bainbridge in Berrien County. All Van Buren County except Covert and South Haven are part of the district as well as Lee, Cheshire, Trowbridge, and part of Otsego Township in Allegan County.
For the past two terms, Rep. Wendzel has served as a member of the House Regulatory Reform Committee where she’s worked to cut red tape and create an environment where Michigan’s craft brewers can grow and thrive.
Before serving as a state representative, Rep. Wendzel worked as the program director at the North Berrien Historical Museum and spent time working on her family farm. Just prior to her first election, she was the product brand development manager at Coloma Frozen Foods and served as the assistant deputy clerk for Bainbridge Township.
“I’m incredibly honored to receive this award,” Rep. Wendzel said. “Protecting this industry is about so much more than brewing beer. These small businesses host events that bring our communities together, they support our local economies by buying products from our farmers, and they hire our friends and neighbors. Our state sits near the top of every list as it relates to brewing and I’m proud to support commonsense policies that create an environment for these small businesses to grow and thrive. I look forward to working with the Michigan Brewers Guild to help our local brewers even more this upcoming term.”
The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts five festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its more than 290 member breweries.
The Michigan Brewers Guild is the network of innovative and passionate brewers that serves as the recognized advocate for the Michigan craft beer industry. The mission of the Michigan Brewers Guild is to promote and protect the Michigan craft beer industry with an overarching goal to help craft beer acquire 20% of the market by 2025.
Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes more than 17,000 full-time jobs and $700 million in labor income / wages, with a total economic impact of over $2.4 billion. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #4 in the nation—supporting its title as “The Great Beer State.”
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