Microbreweries: How many is too many?

This morning’s Crains Detroit Business checked in with Steve and Andrew Lutke who are building the new  microbrewery with outdoor beer garden and hops garden on a 5-acre site in the village of Suttons Bay. The article strikes a cautionary tone with our old friend Rex Halfpenny of the Michigan Beer Guide leading the charge, saying that the market is tight and new breweries could face tough sledding. He compares the industry to the California Gold Rush saying.

“As you know, they didn’t find any gold.”

Rex definitely knows the business. The big brands control 88% of the Michigan beer-drinking market and established microbreweries like Bell’s & Founders control another 3.75 % leaving just over 8% for everyone else. Still, I have to draw on my Portland, OR experience for what a market can support, especially one that is as focused on “Michigan Made” and locally produced as we are. The Oregon Craft Beer Association estimates that just under half of all draft beer consumed in Oregon is brewed in Oregon.

facebookFor more about Hop Lot brewing you can check out their Facebook page and also these features from Drink Michigan and Northwest Michigan’s Second Wave. On October 9th they go before the Suttons Bay Planning Commision.

Photo Credit: Hop Lot Brewing