Investments in More Than Brewing Equipment Can Create Success

When you have a good thing going for you, you learn to lean into it even more.

The newest big equipment purchase for Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Mitten Brewing didn’t have anything to do with adding on to its 20-barrel production facility, instead, it was a dough machine to capitalize ​on the brewpub’s notoriety for exceptional pizza.

“Our dough is really what makes our pizza,” said co-founder Max Trierweiler. “It’s in this cooler for 48 hours before it goes to any of the locations.”

The brewery, which launched inside of an old firehouse in 2012 in the “Beer City USA’s” northwest part of town, intentionally slow ferments its dough. What started with one 65-seat location has blossomed to include more than 200 seats at the original spot along with a production brewery and satellite locations. In January, the brewery launched “Mitten Pizza” as well to further increase the pizza-making side of the company.

“We’re stunting the yeast and creating off flavors, which is what you want in bread making,” Trierweiler said. “It’s kind of the opposite of beer making. So we took what we knew about beer and applied the opposite to our pizza dough. And this thing’s pretty sweet.”

READ MORE: NOLA Brewing Announces New Culinary Concept: NOLA Pizza Co.

The new Atwood Scale-O-Matic machine is the newest addition to the company and Trierweiler said it costs more than most of the tanks that the brewery has bought.

The addition means a more consistent product for all the locations while putting better use for the employees that work in one location now.

Trierweiler said he and fellow co-founder Chris Andrus were inspired to create the brewpub and even move to a solo pizza operation and pairing pizza with beer when they launched after reading a book from Dogfish Head‘s Sam Caligione.

“He related the beer industry to the wine industry,” Trierweiler said. “We’re like, cheese and wine. You can pair that. So let’s pick pizza and find pairings for pizza.”

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