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More craft beers from White Flame Brewing are headed to store shelves soon as the small Hudsonville-based brewer gears up for an expansion later this year, according to a statement. Preliminary plans include the installation of a new, larger 15-barrel brewing equipment to increase output and overall distribution as well as a facelift for the pub with more seating within the existing building footprint. Early plans also include the addition of a deli-style kitchen serving lunch and dinner. As part of the expansion, White Flame plans to add two full-time and two part-time staff as well, according to a release from the brewery. [1:10 p.m.]
Michigan’s big three research universities continued to rank favorably against their peers nationally as of 2012, although they did lag in spinning out startup companies. The University Research Corridor — consisting of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University – had a $16.6 billion economic impact on the state in 2012, according to the annual report issued today from the Anderson Research Group. In gauging the URC’s technology transfer activities, the report ranks the URC fourth among eight research clusters in patents awarded in 2012, fifth in technology licenses issued, and eighth in startup companies cultivated, down from fifth in 2007. The URC spun out 14 startups in 2012 and 163 over a five-year period. For a copy of the URC’s annual report, click here. [10:30 a.m.]
Mercantile Bank Corp. ended 2013 with higher earnings. The Grand Rapids-based Mercantile Bank (NYSE: MBWM) this morning reported quarterly net income of $5.1 million, or 59 cents per share, which compares to $3.0 million, or 35 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2012. Full-year net income totaled $17.0 million, or $1.96 per share, versus $12.5 million, or $1.33 per share, in 2012. The bank attributed the earnings growth to continued improvements in asset quality. Mercantile had assets of $1.43 billion at year’s end, up 0.4 percent from a year earlier. Loans grew 1.2 percent during the year to $1.05 billion.