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.
Two West Michigan craft brewers operating with vastly differing business models are taking a similar approach to growing their operations by using capacity at other breweries. Both Sawyer-based Greenbush Brewing Co. and Muskegon-based Rake Beer Project LLC are taking advantage of a production model that allows them to get beer into the market without a significant upfront capital investment.
With more than 5,300 craft brewers already on the market, and many more scheduled to open in the near future, the craft brewing industry has started to mature.
The craft beer industry in Michigan essentially started with Larry Bell in 1985 launching what would become Bell’s Brewery Inc. Since then, and especially over the last decade, the industry has taken off in West Michigan and beyond.