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FoodBiz

Partners behind a fledgling craft distillery in Grand Rapids think the city’s reputation as a haven for craft beer drinkers plays well into their marketing of small batch vodkas, rums, gins and whiskeys.

Mitten Brewing Company LLC plans to significantly expand its beer production capacity with a new facility on Grand Rapids’ west side.

Global food manufacturer ConAgra Foods Inc. plans to scale back its West Michigan footprint. Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra (NYSE: CAG) plans to shutter its operation at 4490 44th Street SE in Kentwood and layoff 260 people, according to a statement the company provided to MiBiz.

People's Cider taps into local growers

Written by | Sunday, 19 January 2014 20:52 |

The growing popularity of Michigan craft beer has provided the catalyst for one Grand Rapids entrepreneur to commercialize another type of alcoholic beverage: hard cider.

One Kalamazoo-based construction management firm sees opportunity by pursuing a key industry sector into the American Heartland.

Whether it’s a hearty steak or an organic tomato, the “farm to table” movement has taken the food industry by storm in recent years. Now, entrepreneurs Chad Morton and Kirby Watson want to bring that philosophy of ethically sourced, sustainable, quality products to the realm of coffee via their Direct Trade Coffee Club business.

A newly-formed joint venture between the Grand Valley State University Center For Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Saginaw Valley State University wants to encourage agricultural technology startups to drive innovation in Michigan.

The proposal for a business incubator in Ottawa County focused on agricultural technology could one day have a physical home, but the county first wants to see results from a virtual operation before it makes that investment.

Q&A: Nick Nicolay, Kar's Nuts

Written by | Wednesday, 09 October 2013 21:00 |

Kar’s Nuts, an 80-year-old Detroit snack food company, has been slowly growing to national success. What began as one woman roasting peanuts to sell outside the old Tiger Stadium has now turned into a national operation. Kar’s has about 175 employees and expects to do more than $90 million in sales this year.

Ottawa County plans virtual ag incubator

Written by | Sunday, 29 September 2013 22:00 |

Based on the strength of the agricultural sector, the innovative spirit of farmers and the stated need for entrepreneurial resources in the farming sector, Ottawa County proposes creating a virtual incubator to help farmers turn ideas into viable products.

BATTLE CREEK — Reggie Mahoney’s work life gets a bit crazy every year from July through August.

The whole state of Michigan seems to be bursting at the seams with startup breweries, each with missions of locally sourced ingredients and sustainability. While those ideals are at the heart of a new startup brewery in West Michigan, the company is taking its business model one step further by becoming a cooperative.

Michigan’s first female head winemaker at a commercial winery was just honored by her alma mater for her role in the food industry. In August Purdue University awarded St. Julian Wine Co.’s Nancie Corum-Oxley the “Outstanding Food Science Award.” She spoke with MiBiz. 

Advances in growing techniques and higher yields have put a strain on apple processing and packaging plants in West Michigan, particularly in northwestern Kent County.

The failure by the U.S House of Representatives in late June to pass the historically bipartisan “Farm Bill” has many in Michigan — a state with the second-most diverse crop array in the country and where agriculture accounts for approximately $90 billion in revenue — feeling a sense of unease about the future.

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