Monday, October 31, 2016

Ludington Is Well On Its Way To Being A Craft Beer Destination

Written by  Aimee West
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Ludington has always been known for its beautiful beaches, fishing and calming atmosphere. Now they are adding craft beer destination to the list. With Starving Artist Brewing Co. open for the past year and Jamesport Brewing Company open since 2010, they are excited to add Ludington Bay Brewing Company to the list this by January 2017.
First, Jamesport Brewing Company has been part of the fabric of Ludington since 2000. They are located in a gorgeous Victorian six-storefront complex built in 1890. The space has been many things over its 120 years, including the State Liquor Control Commission store and the local headquarters of the National Maritime Union. The current favorite on tap at Jamesport Brewing seems to be the Blueberry Wheat, an American style wheat beer with a hint of blueberry. The brewery also boats a full menu available. I would suggest trying the quesadilla burger and the cherry bourbon pot stickers.

Next to open in Ludington was Starving Artist Brewery Co. since 2015, it has become a favoriteWest Michigan beer for locals and tourists. With nine beers on tap, including Conspiracy IPA, Rubensque Milk Stout, and Flogging Red, this production-only nanobrewery is busy! Open by appointment, contact owner Andy Thomas at (231) 794-1399 to schedule a tour or to stop by to fill a growler of your favorite beer to go. You can also look for it on tap at your local craft beer pub or bar, including Ludington’s Chuck Wagon Pizza and Blu Moon Bistro, among others.

Starving Artist Brewing Co. was able to win the 2015 Momentum Business Plan Competition. With this award money, given to one entrepreneur annually in Mason County, the brewery was able to double its square footage, in turn doubling production capacity. Expanded distribution will now include the entire west side of Michigan from the Mackinaw Bridge to the Indiana border. Look for small batches of select varieties available in bottles only at the brewery, starting sometime this fall.

Newest to the area is Ludington Bay Brewing Company. Owner Ted Gedra is planning the opening in late December or early January. Ted had this to say about opening a brewery in this location, “Ludington is a great community in general that features one of the best beaches anywhere, spectacular fishing, one of the best venues in the U.S. for outdoor enthusiasts, and finally, because craft beer goes well with all of the above, it just felt right!” Ted knew he wanted to do something different after 30 years of work at Wolverine Worldwide. With his passion for craft beer and his good friend and brewer Tom Buchanan, it just felt like the right thing to do. The building is projected to have 6,248 square feet of brewing and distribution space, a 1,800 square-foot tap room, and an almost 1,500-square-foot patio. A full kitchen will be on site that will offer a menu of appetizers, soups, pizza, grilled entrees and sandwiches. Ted and Tom have ten beers planned on tap for the grand opening with a total of 20 beers for the future. These include IPAs, pale ales, wheat beers, seasonal selections, and dark beers such as porters and stouts, along with cider. Their goal, with the space provided, is to grow and eventually distribute their brews in West Michigan.

As if that weren’t enough, Ludington anchors its year with two key beer festivals – Suds on the Shore in August and Pure Ludington BrrrewFest in January. The third annual BrrrewFest is Jan. 28, 2017, 1-6 p.m., in Ludington's Community Garden, featuring 50-plus Michigan brewers showcasing their best for an afternoon of brews, live music by local musicians, and more. Tickets ($25 in advance online or $30 at the door) include a 5oz. commemorative sampling glass plus six drinks tokens for sampling. Proceeds benefit the Friends of Ludington State Park.

Ludington has always been a gem of the west coast of Michigan as a tourist destination. With the addition of Ludington Bay Brewing Company and festivals like BrrrewFest and Suds on the Shore, this little town is well on its way to being a craft beer destination as well. Ludington is ready for your visit!

Aimee West

Aimee West

Is new to the craft beer scene but always willing and wanting to learn more.