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For startup food vendors, gaining access to shelf space at major retailers such as Meijer Inc. and SpartanNash Co. can often mean the difference between remaining a cottage business or scaling up their operations to the next phase of growth.

Imagine spending time and resources to develop a product only to find out that you won’t be able to describe it on the label in a way you think best resonates with consumers.

To meet the growing demands from thirsty consumers, Michigan-based craft brewers have rapidly scaled up production at their manufacturing facilities.

Michigan hop producers have been on a growth streak in recent years, fueled by demand from the state’s craft beer industry for locally sourced ingredients.

As Michigan hops production spiked in recent years, startups have begun to recognize a need for another key locally sourced beer (and spirits) ingredient: malted grain.

With the acquisition of a West Michigan company, a California-based producer of specialty mushrooms plans to reinvigorate operations at a mostly idled food processing facility in Scottville, where it expects to grow
1 million pounds of fungi annually.

As global consumers continue to develop an appetite for American craft beers, many Michigan-based microbreweries have seized the opportunity to expand distribution into foreign markets.

Michigan’s growing base of craft hard cider producers have joined forces in a new industry association that aims to improve the supply of raw materials and drive awareness of the beverage among consumers.

A Kalamazoo-based firm has developed new technology that it says could bring back some favorable cold weather- and drought-resistant qualities to modern corn crops without resorting to genetic engineering.

Farmers, food processors and other people with agriculture innovations have a new venture to help get their ideas to market.

Q&A: Angela Steil, Gravity Taphouse Grille

Written by | Sunday, 07 December 2014 22:00 |

After leaving a career as a model in New York City to become the youngest certified cicerone in the country, 21-year-old Angela Steil gets to talk about craft beer all day long. She’s now the in-house cicerone at the newly-opened Gravity Taphouse on the East Beltline Avenue in Grand Rapids, operated by Redwater Restaurant Group LLC. In that role, Steil’s job is to help customers navigate the restaurant’s extensive craft beer selections. She spoke with MiBiz about her role of taking Beer City USA patrons on an educational journey through craft beer.

When the founders of Long Road Distillers LLC decided to bring in an experienced professional to manage the launch of its spirits production later this year, they realized they needed to look beyond the local talent pool for help.

Aided by the popularity of beers such as Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Bend, Ore.-based Deschutes Brewing Inc. has grown to be the sixth-largest U.S. craft brewery by volume in 2013. Deschutes started distributing in West Michigan this fall.

Earlier this month, the first six-packs of Lucky Girl Brewing Co.’s signature products started rolling out to Meijer stores and other retailers across Michigan.

Breweries and taphouses are far from the only businesses benefiting from the boom in craft beer production these days.

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