Big boost for Michigan Microbreweries

Three Oaks, Mich. Some local breweries are already feeling the effects of legislation signed by Gov. Snyder this week that doubles the amount that microbrewers may produce.

The legislation was signed into law Tuesday and doubles the limit to 60,000 barrels per year from 30,000.

"It's really exciting to see this legislation pass because we firmly believe that you can create a craft product on a very small scale and on a very large scale," said Chelsea Jackson, owner of Pleasant House Three Oaks.

Jackson said the barrel limit increase is a huge development for larger craft beer producers.

"For us to know that there is a lot of room to grow and some of the breweries we look up to are having that opportunity now is fantastic as we look to brew more and to take our product to a wider audience," Jackson said.

"Michigan-made beer is award winning and world renowned," Governor Rick Snyder said in a statement after the signing. "We have the fifth-largest number of microbreweries and brewpubs in the nation, and this legislation will empower out great craft beer industry to keep growing.

Jackson said there's also an addition in the legislation to help out smaller brewers. Small microbreweries that produce less than 1,000 barrels per year are now able to distribute their product directly to retailers under certain conditions.

"So for us specifically, having the option of self-distribution is really important for us," she said. "This allows us to share our beers with retail establishments with people that we otherwise wouldn't be able to share our product with, so that helps us to grow and get our product out there."

According to the Michigan Brewers Guild, the state's brewing industry currently contributes more than $133 million to the economy and more than $24 million in wages.

The law also aims to create jobs and boost tourism as Michigan's craft beer industry continues to become more popular.

"Most of the people in the bar today were from Chicago, so it's great for tourism," said Pleasant House Bartender Bob Ehrlich. "It's great to get people to find areas that maybe they might not have been before and I think the more breweries around, the more reason for people to come out and make a day out of it."

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