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As ArtPrize visitors begin streaming into downtown Grand Rapids for the competition’s seventh year, the city’s tourism-based businesses already have plenty of good news to celebrate.

The Fennville-based maker of hard cider launched in 2011 with a massive PR blitz focused mostly on its high-profile founder, Chicago brewer Greg Hall, whose family had just sold its Goose Island Beer Co. to Anheuser Busch LLC for a reported $38 million. At the time, Hall promised to make exceptional products and to turn Michigan into a Napa Valley type region for hard cider.

As a small producer of craft beverages, Sietsema Cider LLC often faces challenges when it comes to finding ways to package its line of hard ciders. Owner Andy Sietsema found that bottling his products yielded inferior results and proved to be a hassle for the company and its customers. However, as a startup, the company wasn’t in a position to invest in its own canning line.

Craft beverage producers agree that federal regulations have not kept pace with the rapidly evolving industry, but help could be on the way.

KALAMAZOO — Instagram offers businesses a platform to share whimsical photos of their products or operations, but a Southwest Michigan pub alleges there’s nothing funny about the similarity between its trademarked name and the handle a software company is using on the social-networking service.

Michigan-based craft brewers want to change state law so the annual licensing fees they pay can go to benefit research and promotion for their industry rather than support a competing craft beverage sector.

With an overhaul of its sales team, facilities and marketing strategy, the Kalamazoo Wings are looking to breath new life into its storied semi-pro hockey organization.

When fans attend an NBA Development League game, they aren’t just potentially seeing the next crop of NBA players. They’re also getting a glimpse of the coaches, refs, rules and even uniforms that might someday make it to the big stage.

A decades-old provision in Michigan’s liquor laws has many of the state’s craft brewers crying in their beers. Their license fees, however nominal, go to fund agricultural research and promotion of the state’s grape and wine sector — not the beer industry or its agricultural supply chain of hops and barley.

While athletes for West Michigan’s semi-professional sports teams compete for dominance on the court, field or ice, each organization’s front office is doing the same in the sales game, chasing sponsorship dollars that account for a crucial piece of their annual budgets.

Ask West Michigan craft brewers about their experiences with the federal bureaucrat who singlehandedly approved thousands of beer labels over the last decade, and nearly all of them will have a story. Some of them are even printable.

The craft beverage industry in West Michigan is looking quite frothy these days.

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.

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