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Beer and wine (67)

Baroda-based Oronoko Iron Works Inc. hasn’t even turned two years old yet, but the company already has plans to at least double the size of its plant later this year. The reason: Strong growth in the nation’s $19.6 billion craft brewing industry has boosted demand for its material handling products, wh

Industry watchers expect some of the same consolidation activity that’s taken the craft brewing industry by storm in recent years to spread into its agricultural supply chain, particularly for hops.

Despite a long career in the beer distribution business, Keith Klopcic lacked expertise in making the beverages he sold to bars and retailers around the state of Michigan. So when the opportunity arose to buy Comstock Park-based Perrin Brewing Co. last year, he tapped a partner with extensive craft brewing resources who had the know-how to help him continue scaling up the business.

While new bills seek to grow the membership of an agriculture industry council funded by licensing fees from Michigan alcoholic beverage makers, the changes still exclude one key sector and its supply chain from the group

Bartenders at Rockford Brewing Company Inc. have poured more pints of craft beer than expected in the company’s three years of operation. With production at its taproom and brewhouse in Rockford maxed out at 800 barrels of beer annually, co-founder Seth Rivard said the craft brewery will need to look outside of its existing facility to add capacity.

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.

As the craft brewing industry continues to grow in West Michigan, several higher education institutions have begun to take action to address brewers’ talent needs. Community colleges and universities in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo are in various stages of developing training programs that aim to establish a talent pool of qualified brewing professionals.

Would-be brewery owners Edwin Collazo and Dave Petroelje plan to leverage their individual skills to launch a new craft brewery in Grand Rapids. Collazo, a former financial adviser, and long-time brewer Petroelje plan to open City Built Brewing Company LLC next summer in a mixed-use building in the city’s burgeoning North Monroe neighborhood, just north of downtown.

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.

West Michigan craft brewers could be on the hook for thousands of dollars in testing expenses as a result of federal regulations that will require nutritional information for beer and other alcoholic beverages to be included on menus at chain restaurants.

The Fennville-based maker of hard cider launched in 2011 with a massive PR blitz focused mostly on its high-profile founder, Chicago brewer Greg Hall, whose family had just sold its Goose Island Beer Co. to Anheuser Busch LLC for a reported $38 million. At the time, Hall promised to make exceptional products and to turn Michigan into a Napa Valley type region for hard cider.

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.

Craft beverage producers agree that federal regulations have not kept pace with the rapidly evolving industry, but help could be on the way.

KALAMAZOO — Instagram offers businesses a platform to share whimsical photos of their products or operations, but a Southwest Michigan pub alleges there’s nothing funny about the similarity between its trademarked name and the handle a software company is using on the social-networking service.

Michigan-based craft brewers want to change state law so the annual licensing fees they pay can go to benefit research and promotion for their industry rather than support a competing craft beverage sector.

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.

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