Microbreweries have become increasingly popular. Is this a trend that is cresting or the beginnings of a craft beer tsunami?
It's bigger than a tsunami. It's only a matter of time before every city has multiple breweries in it. People are not going back to the mass beers that don't have the flavor profiles. They recognize that we don't have an American-owned mass beer anymore. Budweiser was the last one. Every person with a "Out of a job yet? Keep buying foreign" bumper sticker should think the same thing when they're cracking open a beer.
But craft beer makes up about 5 percent of beer consumption. There's a long way to go.
The reality is a brewery is a community. This brewery and every brewery in a downtown like it are their communities' breweries. There is no competition in it. We're all in this together.
So there is so much blue ocean for microbrewery growth that there isn't any real competition?
Craft beer industry competition comes from other breweries coming into Michigan. I am a big believer in regional beers. Our founding fathers of micro stood on the idea of regional beer. Now they are the ones distributing all across the country.
Will there be a day when we can't call Bell's or New Belgium microbreweries anymore?
Yes. It could be within 5-10 years. Bell's and Founders or New Holland will hit the 500,000 barrel mark in the next three years.
How friendly are Michigan's liquor laws to microbreweries and where do they need to change?
When we opened it was self distribution up to a certain barrelage. That doesn't exist right now. That's how Sierra Nevada and New Belgium got started. That really helps springboard these micros.