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Joe Boomgaard

Joe Boomgaard

Managing Editor

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Erik May, the owner of Pilot Malt House LLC, had always envisioned expanding his West Michigan-based craft beverage supply chain business to other markets.

In 2014, craft brewing in Michigan contributed $1.85 billion in economic impact, up 84 percent from about $1.0 billion two years earlier, according to data released last week by the Denver-based Brewers Association, an industry trade group.

Given tremendous growth in the $19.6 billion craft beer industry, Mike Stevens knew there would be an outpouring of interest from strategic and financial buyers in Founders Brewing Co., the Grand Rapids-based brewery he and Dave Engbers founded in 1997.

Craft beer tourism contributes more than $12.2 million to the Kent County economy. That’s according to a new study from a trio of economics professors at Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business that was commissioned by Experience Grand Rapids, the convention and visitors bureau for Kent County.

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.

FENNVILLE — A wholly-owned subsidiary of Anheuser Busch LLC has acquired a majority interest in a West Michigan-based hard cider producer, MiBiz has learned.

The company will go before the Grand Rapids Planning Commission on Thursday, Aug. 13 with a special land use request to add 1,200 square feet to double its production space at 537 Leonard St. NW, as well as expand its kitchen.

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.

Kalamazoo-based distributor Imperial Beverage Co. relocated its Southeast Michigan warehouse facility from Plymouth to a 25,000-square-foot building in Livonia, according to a statement.

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