Brewer Tina Schuett of Rare Bird Brewery and Taproom


Rare Bird Brewery and Taproom is slated to open in December at 229 Lake Avenue, about midway between Firefly and Patisserie Amie. We had a chance to sit down with brewer Tina Schuett to talk about the plans for the latest addition to TC’s beer scene. Enjoy the article and be sure to read to the end for a chance for you to get in on the ground floor with all kinds of perks and benefits with their Indegogo crowd-funding campaign!

Tina Schuette of Rare Bird Brewery

Tina Schuett of Rare Bird Brewery

How did you get started brewing and what made you decide to take it to the next level with your own brewery?

I started homebrewing in college, and kept it as a hobby while I was a park ranger in California and New Zealand. I couldn’t resist the urge to do it professionally and was able to land a job at Sand Creek Brewery in Wisconsin. My mom is from the area, so when I got an opportunity to brew at a local brewery, I moved here. I worked there and also as the contract brewer at Sugarfoot Saloon.

I had worked with Nate and we really hit it off, so when the opportunity to work with him presented itself and we found this location, I jumped right in. It was always my dream and goal to have my own brewery.

Traverse City has a lot of brewpubs – what’s going to make Rare Bird unique?

We won’t simply be a brew pub. Our full class C liquor license means we’ll be able to have 6-10 of my beers on at a time and fill out the rest of the 35 taps with some really interesting and hard to find beers. We’ll also have a full menu of liquor, wine and cider, so we will be a spot where everyone can get something yummy that fits their taste.

We’ve also been searching out reclaimed materials into old barns that have collapsed – going to the source to find the right pieces. Our tabletops are all being made from a giant cottonwood tree that died of natural causes.

Nate & Tina picking up the brew system at Cape May Brewery

Nate & Tina picking up the brew system at Cape May Brewery

Tell us about the brewing system and what you anticipate having on tap.

Our brew system came from the Cape May Brewery in New Jersey. Nate is a huge birder, and Cape May is coincidentally the premier birding destination in the country. It’s a 3.5 barrel system specially made for brewpubs – we call her May now!

Since we’re allowed to have all these other beers, I’m not going to go up against a Weihenstephan Hefeweizen or some of the other great and rare beers we’re going to be able to bring in. It makes sense to focus on things I know I can do really well. Although I mainly do American ales, I have a Belgian Wit that people seem to really enjoy and some brown ales.

Birding at Cape May

Birding at Cape May

What about your menu live music & special events?

We’ll have a deli style menu that’s focused on local foods and daily specials of what’s fresh and good.

Rare Bird is approved to have live music, and we plan to bring in top of the line acts. We’re really hoping to be a hub for special events, whether it’s teaming up with another business or doing a charity event. We’ll also have regular nights for games and other interests during the winter to get people out.

Why the name Rare Bird?

As I said, Nate’s one of the top birders in town. The first thing he asked me was “Is it true you banded kiwis in New Zealand?” … so the name makes a lot of sense.

Rare Bird Brewery is targeting a December 2013 opening and will be open 11 am – midnight on weeknights, Friday and Saturday 11-2 AM and Sunday 11-10 PM. Keep up with them on Facebook and check out their funding campaign below.

You can help Rare Bird make the last push to open the doors with their Indiegogo campaign. In exchange for your financial support, you’ll receive perks from a Rare Bird Brewpub sticker and bottle opener for $10 or a $75 early bird Mug Club Membership all the way up to a LIFETIME membership to Rare Bird that includes Founding Member t-shirt, special Founding Member 20 oz mug with $2 fills of Rare Bird beers for life for $500! These memberships – and even bigger perks like a special brewing session with Tina and a tasting party with your beer for your friends – will never be available after Indiegogo!!

Click here for all the details and watch Tina & Nate talking about the brewery and their dreams in the video below.