Short’s Brewing Company is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Saturday, April 26th in Bellaire. As usual, they will be holding a big party that (in the words of founder Joe Short) celebrates “loving what we do and where we live with the people we love.”
25-year-old Joe Short had worked for other Michigan microbreweries. Driven by the desire to brew varied, creative, and sometimes outlandish beers and with the help of a lot of friends, Joe’s dream was realized when Short’s Brewing Company opened its doors for the first time on April 26, 2004. In the ensuing decade, Short’s has become the largest craft brewery in Northern Michigan and one of Michigan’s hottest brands.
Joe took an incredible leap of faith to open a microbrewery in his hometown. I asked him what he’d learned in that time that he’d want to share with his younger self or someone thinking of following their dreams in northern Michigan.
“There’s lots that I’ve learned in this last decade,” Joe said. “I think most importantly it goes to the original philosophy of loving what you do, loving where you live and working along side people you care about. I completely underestimated the challenges that were ahead of younger Joe Short, but determination and willingness to rise to the challenges (and roll with the punches) is what any person following their dream should be prepared to do. It doesn’t seem to be a natural instinct to do something that’s difficult or challenging or something that requires a lot of hard work. It takes a vision and a dream to see that working through challenges of insurmountable difficulty can produce something amazing and beautiful. My advice is to keep the vision and passion paramount – but couple it with research, experience and a good plan. Assume it can be done until you are proven otherwise…..”
The 10th Anniversary event will top any of their past anniversary parties, featuring more than 90 beers on tap, a variety of specialty food, Joe’s annual State of the Brewery address and live music all day including Dean Ween and the Brown Outs, The Ragbirds, Breathe Owl Breathe, Steppin’ In It (< warning – autoplay music!), and Don Julin and Billy Strings.
Admission to the event is free by decree of “The Man” and limited to 4,000 people at any one time. Bottled beer and token pre-sales will start at noon and doors will be open 3 – midnight with the first band starting at 3:30 (21 and over only after 8 PM).
The anniversary’s specialty release beer, Stache Bender, is a double version of Short’s Hopstache India Pale Ale with intense citrus fruit and floral hop qualities aided by the addition of grapefruit zest. They will also have their Anniversary Ale, a wheat wine made with blood oranges and blood orange zest, spiced with green peppercorns.
Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire is one of several lodging options in the area, and Shanty’s Chris Hale shared, “Bellaire is just a 1200 person town and like Shanty Creek, Short’s draws people to the area and helps keep Bellaire on the map. Short’s is a popular draw and a huge part of Bellaire’s current makeup. The way Joe’s doing it will make it continue to be true in the future.”
If anyone’s worried Joe’s getting tired of doing what he’s done for a decade, consider that Short’s just announced a $5 million expansion of their Elk Rapids production brewery. Joe summed it up perfectly, “Fortunately the road is still long and challenging – we just get better at what we do over time!”
Click the first photo below for a slideshow from the construction and early years of Short’s below, and also check out their year in review video from last year!