Besides being tasty, beer has big impact on economy

You don’t have to like beer to appreciate its impact on the economy. The benefits of the beer industry here in Michigan can be seen in a whole heap of ways, from the jobs it provides directly, to the industries and other occupations it supports indirectly. The trickle-down effect is significant, especially here in the Upper Peninsula.

In today’s Journal, you’ll find a copy of the 2018 U.P. Beer Guide. Much like the local brewers who devote their care and attention into creating a tasty libation for you to enjoy, we in the editorial department put our efforts into creating this guide.

The beer guide not only provides a preview of the upcoming Michigan Brewers Guild’s U.P. Fall Beer Fest, but it also offers readers a road map to the many unique and distinguished brewing establishments in northern Michigan, from Sault Ste. Marie in the east to Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keweenaw.

Though it’s not an exhaustive list, the guide offers a profile of the breweries many of us have become familiar with, particularly in the past decade or so, when it seems that the craft brewery scene exploded not only across the state, but the country as well.

Sure, Marquette County has had the opportunity to enjoy beer from the Vierling Restaurant and Marquette Harbor Brewery for a long time. Its website totes the establishment as one of Michigan’s pioneers in the brewpub business — it started brewing in 1995. And shortly after, Jasper Ridge Brewery in Ishpeming opened up. But if you look back just 10 years, there was no Ore Dock, Blackrocks, Cognition or Barrel and Beam, and that trend of new breweries popping up isn’t exclusive to Marquette County.

Food & Wine writer Mike Pomranz wrote in a recent edition that the current boom of craft breweries started around 2008.

“Thanks to people’s renewed interest in artisan products, dedicated beer drinkers’ weariness with mass-market brands, and a wave of state-by-state deregulation, by the end of 2017 the number of breweries in the U.S. had quadrupled from around 1,500 in 2008 to more than 6,300 — an average of almost 130 per state,” Pomranz figured.

The Michigan Brewers Guild lists 272 breweries and brewpubs on its website, while other media reports put that figure at more than 300. Moreover, the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Beer Institute estimated the beer industry in Michigan was worth around $10.5 billion in 2016, up from about $6.6 billion in 2014.

It’s a significant boom for certain, and, as was said earlier, one we can feel right here at home.

The breweries that have opened and the ones that were already operating in the last 10 years have helped support the region’s tourism industry, while also supplying us locals with a fine brew.

Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton is one of the U.P. breweries that seems to have been around for ages. But in reality, it only opened in 2007.

Blackrocks Brewery, just 10 years ago was still simply a house along Third Street in Marquette. It opened in 2010, and now it distributes its beverages statewide. The Ore Dock Brewing Company has seen similar success since it opened its doors in 2012. Three years later, Cognition opened, followed by Barrel and Beam just earlier this year.

These breweries provide an income for not only the people who make the beer, but also the ones who distribute it to retailers and those who pour the pint that’s put in your hand. They also contribute to the incomes of other people, like the guy who makes the glass bottles or aluminum cans the beer is kept in, or the gal who designs the labels they’re marketed with.

And when you see hundreds of people milling about Marquette’s Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Saturday for the beer fest, you might notice some of them stopping at restaurants afterward for a bite to eat.

That trickle-down effect is something to ponder the next time you crack open a can or pop off a bottle top. Michigan is a thirsty state, and we’ve got the brew to prove it.