Food/Agribusiness

SPONSORED BY DAN VOS CONSTRUCTION

As northern Michigan restaurants and bars reopen under occupancy limits and other restrictions, business leaders and city officials are considering ways to expand the footprint of existing restaurants to help boost revenue.

Bars and restaurants that want to open outdoor service areas can now take advantage of a streamlined permitting process through the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. 

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission has returned nearly $3.4 million to licensees as part of a liquor buyback program to support bars and restaurants during the state-mandated closure to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

KALAMAZOO — Southwest Michigan biosciences company Native Traits Corp. plans to use a recent investment to move its high-yield and weather-resistant seed technology into field testing and production.

MUSKEGON — The line was 15 cars long on a recent Thursday evening, with employees shuffling between vehicles and the retail shop to scan IDs and run products out to patrons.

GRAND RAPIDS — In March, organizers at the Fulton Street Farmers Market in Grand Rapids were preparing for their biannual soup-tasting fundraiser. Usually, vendors and West Michigan restaurants donate soups for the event. Hundreds of people gather to taste food from the cooler weather season, catch up with one another and support the market.

MUSKEGON — As one of the only restaurants open in downtown Muskegon, Topshelf Liquor Bar & Pizza owner Jim Noel is sticking to a formula he knows well. 

THREE OAKS — Other than the early days of launching Journeyman Distillery LLC, founder Bill Welter cannot recall a more difficult business environment than the present.

STEVENSVILLE — Peat’s Cider Social had been open for less than two weeks when co-founder Dan Peat began hearing about a highly infectious virus that was starting to affect various parts of the country. 

The trade association representing Michigan restaurants issued guidelines and a checklist today for reopening.

Michigan distilleries that switched to hand sanitizer production are keeping the lights on, but they face a tough road ahead with on-premise sales at bars and restaurants at a standstill for the foreseeable future. 

BATTLE CREEK — Consumers stocking up on cereals, snacks and other foods during the global COVID-19 pandemic have led to “significantly” higher sales for Kellogg Co. 

The recent shutdown forced many small craft beverage companies to shift their business models on the fly. 

Oktober Design LLC proves the aphorism of being in the right place at the right time when it comes to finding success in business. 

Mitch Ermatinger’s outlook has improved in the weeks since the mid-March closure of all Michigan bars and restaurants, but the economic effects of the pandemic are still weighing heavily on the co-founder of Speciation Artisan Ales LLC. 

As the new coronavirus spreads throughout the Midwest and people’s behaviors change as a result, Michigan’s turkey farms are struggling to stay afloat. 

Michigan’s craft beverage industry is facing a challenge with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic that is unlike any other in its history. 

Craft beverage companies have been rocked by an unprecedented crisis, one caused not by bad business decisions or fundamental industry shifts, but by widespread closures related to a sweeping public health concern. 

Two prominent players in Michigan’s cannabis and craft brewing industries have launched a new product merging their areas of expertise: beer-flavored edibles.

Launching a new craft beverage business can prove challenging in even the best of economic times, let alone in the middle of a global pandemic.

When Nic and Joanna Merrill heard about shortages of hand sanitizer in Southwest Michigan, they began wondering how their company, craft distillery Kalamazoo Stillhouse, could help fill the void. 

Michigan greenhouses and nurseries say they are pleased and ready to open following an executive order today by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer loosening restrictions on some businesses as COVID-19 cases level off.

BELLAIRE — Short’s Brewing Co. has received a roughly $1 million loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration to help offset the impacts of the coronavirus, company officials told MiBiz today.

Like most non-essential businesses in the state, many garden centers and greenhouses in West Michigan have been forced to close as part of continuing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Restaurants and bars will be able to sell spirits back to the state under an executive order signed Monday evening by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

The state has tightened environmental restrictions on Michigan’s largest livestock farms. 

LANSING — The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association and the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development have announced a partnership that will enable restaurants to sell food and pantry items that currently can be sold only by grocery and retail stores.

When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the first two cases of COVID-19 in Michigan and declared a state of emergency on March 11, Lisa Wideman knew Meals on Wheels Western Michigan would be forced to adapt to a new reality. 

Michigan’s food and agriculture industries and related workers are considered as “essential critical infrastructure” to ensure continued food security across the state under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home executive order. 

HOLLAND —  Coppercraft Distillery is joining a number of distilleries in the state with plans to produce hand sanitizer. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Garage Bar & Grill plans to give away 100 free carry-out meals to workers affected by recent layoffs. 

The federal regulatory body that oversees the alcohol industry has cleared the way for U.S. distilleries to begin producing hand sanitizer. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Long Road Distillers LLC has laid off 50 employees — almost its entire workforce — following a state order limiting bars and restaurants to take-out and delivery business.

West Michigan brewery owners are reeling this morning over news that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will issue an order later today to temporarily close bars, restaurants and other venues over concerns related to coronavirus. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Restaurants and breweries across West Michigan are taking precautions to protect employees and patrons from coronavirus. 

Following a request from Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the U.S. Government Accountability Office will investigate the integrity of the U.S. Department of Agriculture aid to farmers affected by the U.S. trade war with China. 

A bill introduced in the state Legislature would change how beer festivals operate in Michigan.

New laws aim to bring parity to the state’s alcoholic beverage sector. 

Gary Schuler never expected to jump into the industrial hemp industry, but he  finds himself now pitching the plant’s potential and its milled-down byproduct for new uses.

Indiana agricultural land manager Ceres Farms LLC is suing Amtrak over blocked access to farmland in Niles, Mich. 

SHELBY — Family-owned fruit processor Peterson Farms Inc. is expanding its operations in Oceana County, north of Muskegon. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Atwater Brewery, a Detroit-based brewery with a satellite taproom in Grand Rapids, has been acquired by Chicago-based Molson Coors Beverage Co., one of the largest international brewing conglomerates. 

West Michigan’s farmers will be wading through the confluence of negatives brought on last year ranging from extreme weather, volatile commodity prices and trade wars well into 2020. 

LANSING — Neogen Corp. announced its second international acquisition in a week with a deal for Italy-based Diessechem S.R.L., a distributor of food and feed safety diagnostic products. 

While craft beverage industry insiders expect more deals ahead nationally in 2020, the market in Michigan may be poised to level off. 

GRAND RAPIDS — An established West Michigan brewery whose products are available on shelves statewide is taking a novel approach to getting its newest brand out to market. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Comstock Park-based Speciation Artisan Ales LLC plans to open a new taproom along the burgeoning Wealthy Street corridor in Grand Rapids. 

Companies working in the marijuana industry are expecting a busy year in 2020, as more licensed businesses open and additional communities begin regulating recreational operations.