BELLAIRE — The crew at Short’s Brewing Company knows how to tap its creative resources.
“Anybody who has an idea can present it to our brewmaster Tony Hansen,” Short’s Brewing Company founder Joe Short said. “We’ll talk about it, we’ll test it out at the pub first and if it’s something that takes off we’ll consider tweaking it, making it again or putting it into a production slot. Creativity and ideas are welcome at Short’s Brewing Company.”
The practice led to more than 200 beers and 10 years in business.
Short’s Brewing Company opened 10 years ago, thanks to Short’s work and determination. He started brewing at home at 19, and worked at breweries such as Traverse Brewing Company, Michigan Brewing Company and Jackson Brewing Company until he opened Short’s at age 25.
“I really enjoyed the craft and I felt like I was a person who could roll with the punches to a degree and try to make it work,” he said. “I guess it was everything-to-gain and nothing-to-lose sort of attitude.”
The attitude paid off. Short’s produced about 22,000 barrels of beer last year, more than enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool, and is on track to double that volume in 2014. The beers are only distributed in Michigan, which Short said allows the brewery to produce a wider variety of beers.
“The further out you spread yourself the fewer options you leave yourself,” he said. “If we keep everything in Michigan we’ll package up to 50 beers a year as opposed to 12 or 14.”
The philosophy leads to beers as diverse as the Black Licorice Lager, Strawberry Short’s Cake golden ale, Pineapple Pilsner and Short’s favorite, the flagship Huma Lupa Licious.
Short said the next decade will be similar to the last, with a new emphasis on community projects like redeveloping downtown Bellaire and a nonprofit organization promoting Antrim County water recreation.