MARQUETTE - A popular Marquette brewery will soon be expanding operations onto Washington Street.
The owners of Blackrocks Brewery, which opened in late 2010, have purchased the building at 950 W. Washington St. and plan to use the space as a brewery and bottling plant for their products.
"We were here about two and a half years ago and we presented what we were planning with a small microbrewery on Third Street," owner Andy Langlois told the Marquette City Commission during its meeting this week. "Things have gone pretty well for us. The next step for us, at this point, is to get into the production game and distribution."
Langlois - who attended the commission meeting along with Blackrocks co-owner Dave Manson - said the pair is working on expanding the main Third Street location and hopes to open the bottling plant soon.
On Tuesday, the Marquette City Commission endorsed the project, which requires Blackrocks to obtain a state microbrewery license for the new location. The commission voted unanimously to direct the city clerk to sign a resolution endorsing the issuance of a microbrewery license. The resolution will be submitted to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
Though no taproom is planned for the building, located in the former Elson's Coca Cola bottling plant on West Washington Street, Langlois said it will allow Blackrocks to further build the company's beers.
"Michigan is growing at a rapid rate in the craft beer world right now," he said. "You have Bell's out of Kalamazoo, Founders out of Grand Rapids, Short's in Bellaire. We're kind of at the point now where we want to be Blackrocks in Marquette."
Commissioners said the bottling plant would be a great use for an unused building.
"This is a good way to put a property that's been sitting idle for a long time - a building right on Washington Street - back into work and hopefully create some jobs in our community," Commissioner Don Ryan said. "I think that's a positive thing."
Commissioner Sara Cambensy said she was also pleased to see the brewery expanding in the city.
"I'd just like to commend Dave and Andy for the great job they're doing, and also to thank them for buying a building in Marquette, in the city limits," she said. "Thank you for keeping it in the city and I wish you the best of luck."
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.