Michigan’s Short’s Brewing Expands Beyond State Borders

short's brewing

Joe Short sounded almost apologetic about the growth that is in store for his Northern Michigan-based Short’s Brewing.

The Bellaire, Michigan brewery, with a production facility down the road in Elk Rapids, Michigan, which used the phrase “Michigan Only. Michigan Forever” as a rallying cry, is beginning to distribute its beers and Starcut Ciders brand outside the state for the first time beginning Feb. 5.

“There’s a saying we often use here at Short’s, ‘The only thing that stays the same, is change,’ Short, the brewery’s founder, wrote in a hand-written letter posted on the company’s website and social media platforms. “As you probably know, the number of breweries popping up in the past seven years has increased tremendously.”

Founded in 2004 and expanding to a production facility in 2009, Short’s saw a 24.2 percent increase in distribution growth in 2015, covering all of the upper and lower peninsula’s of the Great Lakes State. It produced nearly 35,000 bbls in 2014 with plans to go past 50,000 for 2016.

There was no where else to go but outside its borders, Short said.

“While I can understand that this is probably a tough decision for some people to accept, at the end of the day I think that Short’s making the best beer possible is what people care about the most,” he said.

The decision to move away from the company’s “Michigan only” sales philosophy was not an easy one.

“I have an amazing product, capacity to brew more beer, and a badass crew working hard in Northern Michigan to consider,” he wrote. “We want to continue to grow and do awesome stuff, but we don’t want to sell out to investor or another brewery. In order to do what is right for our company and community.”

The growth outside of the state lines will also mean added sales jobs to the new markets that Short’s will be marketed to.

“My role is to ensure that we continue to thrive as a business and take care of our staff,” he said in a press release. “Over the past couple of years, we have built a dream team of staff and infrastructure needed to produce our hand-crafted beer on a scale that ensures a constant supply to the state of Michigan. We currently have both the capacity and the personnel to sell more beer and cider than just the Michigan market, without compromising the quality of service to our home state.”

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