Joe Boomgaard

Joe Boomgaard

Editor, covers craft beverage industry.
Twitter: @jboomgaard
Email: [email protected]

GRAND RAPIDS — Founders Brewing Co. is selling a majority stake in the business to the brewery’s Spain-based minority shareholder, MiBiz has learned. 

Native American tribes that want to participate in Michigan’s fledgling cannabis industry face many bureaucratic hurdles.

WALKER — A federal agency has accused supercenter retailer Meijer Inc. of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act over its treatment of an employee at a store in Oakland County in Southeast Michigan.

new bill would end a time-consuming bonding process needed to get a license for Michigan-based craft beverage producers and certain out-of-state companies that sell alcoholic beverages in Michigan. 

HOLLAND — Reports this month that LG Chem plans to build a second U.S. lithium-ion battery plant underscore how much the automotive industry has evolved in the six years since the company started making advanced batteries in West Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS — Tensions between Michigan craft beverage producers and the state regulatory agency appear to be ratcheting up with the filing of a new federal lawsuit, MiBiz has learned. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Tribally-owned Gun Lake Investments is making an active push into the West Michigan commercial real estate market with an investment in a high-profile redevelopment and three property acquisitions so far this year, MiBiz has learned. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Five Michigan breweries are suing the Michigan Liquor Control Commission over the regulatory agency’s quashing of free bingo promotions at their taprooms.

The retail industry finds itself at a crossroads of many diverging influences. 

GREENVILLE — When the third-generation owners of what’s today known as Stafford Media Inc. decided to sell the publishing and commercial printing company that had been in their family for 68 years, they went to great lengths to vet potential buyers.

Jeff Korzenik became interested in how businesses can successfully hire ex-offenders “almost by accident.” He credits sending his children to public magnet schools in Chicago with opening his eyes to the challenges different groups of people face. 

After more than six decades under the ownership of the Stafford family, the Greenville Daily News is selling to new owners.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 09:52

ICCF plans move to new HQ in Grand Rapids

After helping save one historic building from the wrecking ball and rehabilitate it into usable office space, the Inner City Christian Federation is looking to do “an encore performance.”

South Bend, Ind.-based Teachers Credit Union plans to acquire New Bancorp Inc., the parent company of New Buffalo Savings Bank.

As more generations become exposed over time to the craft beer industry, brewers will face new opportunities to find growth and challenges to their existing business models. Add in a healthy dose of regulatory uncertainty and shifting market dynamics that could easily catch breweries off guard financially if they scaled up too large, too soon and it’s easy to see that the craft brewing industry remains in a state of constant flux.

In the hyper-competitive craft beer industry in which growth has started to level off in recent years, Old Nation Brewing Co. proves the exception to the rule. The Williamston-based brewery has garnered a name for itself with its M-43 brand, a popular New England-style hazy India Pale Ale that carries a suggested retail price of $13.99 per four-pack of 16-ounce cans.

Macatawa Bank Corp. recorded strong earnings growth for the first three months of 2019.

After stories began to emerge in late 2017 that tannery wastes had contaminated the Rogue River, customers at nearby Rockford Brewing Co. started expressing concern about the safety of drinking the beer. Even though Rockford Brewing was connected to municipal water, which has tested non-detect for the PFAS family contaminants over four rounds of testing, the brewery still faced a possible PR crisis, said co-owner Seth Rivard.

When Chico, Calif.-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. put out the “bat signal” seeking help to support victims of last year’s catastrophic Camp Fire in northern California, the Michigan craft brewing industry set into motion. Their rallying point: Resilience Butte County Proud IPA. Sierra Nevada created the beer as a fundraiser, pledging to donate 100 percent of its profits from the sale of the product to the Camp Fire Relief Fund. The 10th-largest U.S. brewery then shared the recipe online and encouraged breweries all over the country to participate.

MUSKEGON — Shifting dynamics in the automotive industry convinced family-owned Hines Corp., an industrial holding company, to seek a buyer for its Michigan Spring & Stamping LLC operations. The decision came after Michigan Spring successfully launched a new production facility in China in September 2018 in response to demands from a key customer, said George “Bud” Hendrick III, executive vice president of corporate development at Hines Corp.

The founding couple whose initials gave ELK Brewing LLC its name are no longer with the company.

Holt-based Moore Trosper Construction Co. has opened an office in Sault Ste. Marie in an effort to work with the local Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

LITCHFIELD — Proposed commercial-scale maltster Independent Barley & Malt Inc. has signed an exclusive supplier agreement with Maumee, Ohio-based The Andersons Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, Litchfield-based Independent Barley & Malt will use The Andersons (Nasdaq: ANDE) to source, supply, deliver and store the malting barley it will use in its operations.

After three decades of running tribal gaming operations, Michigan-based Native American tribes have started to leverage their casino revenues to launch economic development corporations and diversify their economies. 

When the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians replaced the former Victories Casino with the new Odawa Casino in 2007, the tribe was left with a 22-acre site and a vacant building at the southern end of Petoskey.

Sunday, 03 March 2019 21:23

Mno-Bmadsen targets $25M EBITDA by 2022

Dowagiac-based Mno-Bmadsen, the non-gaming investment arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, takes a familiar portfolio-based approach to its economic development enterprise. But rather than drive overall top-line revenue for its family of companies, Mno-Bmadsen is focusing on growing the combined earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of its holdings.

Over the next five years, CEO Tom Wilbur plans to build Grand Traverse Economic Development into a $100 million diversified portfolio of eight to 10 firms capable of capturing federal and state contracts.

A West Michigan marine transportation firm is significantly increasing its freight capacity in response to higher demand from a key customer. Port City Barge Inc. of Muskegon last month took delivery of the Commander, a 495-foot by 72-foot freight barge that it plans to use to haul cement for St. Marys Cement US LLC.

With the acquisition this year of a Charlevoix-based defense contractor, Grand Traverse Economic Development is executing on the initial steps of its investment strategy to diversify revenues for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians away from gaming. If all goes to plan for Traverse City-based GTED, the sovereign tribe’s non-gaming commercial investment arm intends over the next decade to build a $1 billion portfolio of companies, almost entirely focused in some way on government contracting.

West Michigan tribes may be relatively new to implementing economic development and diversification plans, but they’ve quickly established themselves as strategic partners for the local business community because of their focus on investing in companies and real estate. Moreover, many of the federally-recognized sovereign tribes are looking to engage with non-tribal businesses, spreading the opportunity beyond just tribal members into potentially powerful economic opportunities across the region.