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FoodBiz

During this year’s ArtPrize, downtown Grand Rapids was filled with the expected sights — oversized artwork, misused crosswalks, the guy riding a fish bicycle. But there was a surprise greeting visitors who flocked to the eighth-annual event: Food trucks. All over the place. With lines in front of them.

HART — After operating for a decade, The Starting Block has helped the West Michigan craft food movement grow from an idea into the fledgling industry it is today.

When urban farming entered the mainstream thinking of community and economic developers, many prospective farmers envisioned a quick payday selling their products to high-end restaurants and other retailers. 

Zeeland Farm Services Inc. plans to invest $130 million into a new soybean processing facility in Ithaca, 45 miles north of Lansing.

major player in Big Agriculture is poised to expand its influence in the industry.

When Bill Welter was searching for a location to start a distillery in 2010, he chose a site in Three Oaks, Mich. over his home state of Indiana.

SAWYER — When Greenbush Brewery Co. needed to expand its production facility, co-owner Scott Sullivan faced a conundrum. 

GRAND RAPIDS — SpartanNash Co. has to overcome a key hurdle in attracting craft beer shoppers to the retailer’s high-end D&W Fresh Market Breton Village store. 

The retail landscape is changing for Michigan’s largest craft beverage producers, which continue to grow at a rapid pace. In this comprehensive special report, MiBiz examines the opportunities, challenges and strategies these companies are deploying in an ever-changing market.

new law passed earlier this month modernizes a provision in Michigan’s liquor control code that many craft beverage producers were unknowingly violating in recent years. 

A year and a half after launching Railtown Brewing Co. in Dutton, Justin Buiter and Gim Lee realized their craft brewery needed to expand well ahead of schedule. 

If ever there was a sign that the craft beer business has matured, it’s that the money has finally showed up and taken an interest in the industry.

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. 

In an attempt to differentiate themselves from their competition, craft breweries in Michigan and nationwide have started to infuse various combinations flavors into their beers. 

As the craft beverage industry matures, it’s attracted new entrants who may be more concerned with making a quick profit than with the quality of the liquid. 

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