Summer Beer Festival, Anniversary Grand Crew Ale, Commemorative Pint Glass and Great Beer State Documentary Highlight the Month-Long Celebration
This year’s celebration of Michigan Beer Month promises to be the biggest and best yet, according to the Michigan Brewers Guild, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2022.
It was October 22, 1997 when a surprising collection of 49 people representing 30 operating breweries gathered at a pub in Saginaw to discuss how they could collectively promote Michigan-made beer. A consensus arose out of that meeting that a formal association of Michigan brewers should be organized and on December 3, 1997, the Michigan Brewers Guild was officially formed.
Michigan Summer Beer Festival made its debut at Livonia’s Greenmead Historic Park in July 1998, before moving to Ypsilanti’s Frog Island Park and finally landing at Riverside Park in Ypsi’s historic Depot Town in 2001. Tickets are still available at MiBeer.com for the 23rd Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival (Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23), where visitors can expect to sample hundreds of beers from many of Michigan’s finest breweries during this two-day event. In addition to the vast array of locally produced beer, the festival features local entertainment including Saturday night’s headliner Laith Al Saadi (who also performed at this event in 2006 and 2013, before his 2016 jaw-dropping semi-finalist appearance on NBC’s The Voice).
Michigan Beer Month is a time to recognize the passion, diversity and dedication that brewers around the state bring to the industry. Legislators in Lansing have once again adopted a resolution noting the brewing industry’s long-standing history, impact on both the tourism and agricultural interests, and ongoing contributions to the overall economy of the state.
One major initiative commemorating the 25th Anniversary is a series of "Grand Crew Ale" beers made using member growers/producers of hops, malt, other Michigan grown ingredients and even Michigan distillery barrels for aging. These special beers will be released in July at member brewpubs and tasting rooms (perhaps served up in a 2022 limited-edition “Commemorative Pint Glass” also at select member locations) and will also be available for sampling at the Summer Beer Festival.
Another significant project is the release of the Great Beer State Documentary which draws from more than 60 interviews gathered over four years, building on the work from the 2019 book A Rising Tide – The Story of the Michigan Brewers Guild and Michigan’s Great Beer State Podcast which was launched in 2020. The film is in production and following a private release event, will be shown at viewing parties held across the state at member breweries, Allied Trade Member locations and community friends of Michigan beer. It is an essential element in the 25th Anniversary campaign which will culminate in a “Wrap Party” on October 22 following the Detroit Fall Beer Festival at Eastern Market (the actual 25th Anniversary of the Guild).
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 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 conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”
Formed in 1997, the Michigan Brewers Guild held its first festival in July 1998. Today, it hosts five festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan beer produced by its nearly 300 member breweries (a number that increases on a monthly basis). Within the state, and beyond, Michigan is referred to as “The Great Beer State” ranking #6 nationally for the number of breweries.
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