Creating a Market for Michigan’s Local Craft Breweries
Over the past decade, small local breweries have continuously opened and grown in popularity, creating a real resurgence in the industry across the United States.
Meijer began carrying its first craft brew more than 20 years ago. Today, our commitment to the growing industry of up-and-coming local breweries represents beers from 50 Michigan breweries and an annual economic impact of more than $100 million across the Midwest. In fact, we currently sell 34 locally-brewed craft beers each minute in Michigan.
“What’s happening here in Michigan is a microcosm of what’s happening throughout the Midwest and across the country – the state of craft beer is thriving,” said Peter Whitsett, Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Marketing for Meijer.
We feel our ability to showcase so many local beers can only be good for those individual brewers and for the state of the industry itself.
“It used to be that craft beer was only sold at small, independent stores,” said Dave Engbers, Co-Founder of Founder’s Brewery, which started a partnership with Meijer in 2006 and sold more than 200,000 cases of its beer at Meijer stores in 2015. “Meijer took the opportunity to welcome craft beer enthusiasts and has done a great job engaging customers and listening to what they are demanding.”
In 2016, to further support Michigan craft brewers, we started expanding the reach of the most popular local brands in the state at stores throughout our other Midwest stores. This includes Short’s Brewing Company based in Bellaire, Mich.
“I remember coming to Meijer to start talking about distribution beyond our Bellaire brewery in 2006, and not yet having a production and packaging facility,” Founder Joe Short said. “The only way we could bring a sample was in a growler. They took a chance on us based on our experimental brews and that relationship not only helped build anticipation for our brand, but was pivotal in laying the foundation for our continued growth.”