Traverse City Record-Eagle

the BIZ

April 23, 2014

Glenn Puit: Right Brain owner had a vision

TRAVERSE CITY — Russell Springsteen’s mindset about beer changed during a trip to Germany.

The owner of Traverse City’s Right Brain Brewery was 17 and swilling beer to get drunk at a German bar -- you can apparently do that in Germany at 17 -- when a German approached and asked what the heck he was doing.

“‘Why are you doing that? Why are you trying to get drunk?’” the man asked Springsteen.

The question seemed strange but left a lasting impression: Beer was to be savored and cherished.

“You had to treat it respectfully,” Springsteen said. “Be respectful to the alcohol and the beer.”

Respect for beer served Springsteen well in the last seven years as Right Brain blossomed from a novel place to have a craft brew to today’s business with statewide reach. Right Brain, now headquartered on E. 16th St., employs more than 30 people and is witnessing heavy demand for bottling, canning and distribution as the likes of Meijer’s and Costco come calling.

“We produced a few barrels short of 3,000 last year,” Springsteen said. “This year we expect 5,000 barrels.”

Springsteen heavily invested in production this winter, and bought new tanks and equipment.

“We are building assets,” Springsteen said. “We went from a $250,000 budget to ... probably $3 or $4 million in assets right now.

“We have this demand in the market, so it’s a good time for us,” Springsteen said. “If you don’t meet your demand in the market, you start to lose share and lose what you’ve built up, so right now we are learning how to produce larger batches and be consistent.”

Springsteen’s dream started in Colorado home brewing with family members. He moved to Traverse City so his wife could be closer to her native northern Michigan. He landed his first brewing job at the now defunct Traverse Brewing Co. in Williamsburg, where he watched a fledgling brewery fight for survival in what turned out to be a valuable learning experience. Timing, novelty and ambition came together at the right time for Springsteen when he launched Right Brain in 2007 with his sister and brother-in-law.

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot