Short's Octorock

Cans of Starcut Ciders’ Octorock move down the canning line at the Short’s Brewing Company Production Facility in Elk Rapids.

ELK RAPIDS — Short’s Brewing Company’s expansion is inching closer to completion. The company is adding a 6,000-square-foot warehouse to its Elk Rapids brewery, along with three more loading docks.

It needs the extra space.

“We’ve literally been working around the clock to try to keep our products stocked for our distribution and retail partners, and we are so grateful for their patience and grace,” CEO Scott Newman-Bale said in a release. “The demand has been insane, this expansion couldn’t come on line at a better time.”

Short’s sales grew 14 percent this summer over last year, the release stated. In June, the brewery sold 30 percent more beer than it did in June 2019. Sales continue to soar, according to the release.

The new warehouse will offer more space for packaging materials, allowing the brewery to get ahead on production during slower seasons. It also will streamline shipping and logistics, easing distribution issues, the release stated.

To meet the increased demand for Short’s flagship brews in this year dominated by COVID-19, the company had had to cancel some specialty projects.

“We definitely experienced some bumps and setbacks along the way due to COVID, but are excited to be wrapping up construction soon,” Newman-Bale said.

Short’s beer, along with sister brands Starcut Ciders and Beaches Hard Seltzer, in July expanded distribution into five additional states: Tennessee, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Short’s products already were being distributed in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, Florida and Pennsylvania.

The new warehouse is just the beginning of changes at the Elk Rapids facility.

  • The brewery soon will install a new packaging line that will double the rate at which it can package brew. The new line will also eliminate the need for plastic rings.
  • A new kettle just came online, which allows Short’s to produce multiple products at a time The multi-dimensional producer’s brands that include those recently acquired from Arcadia Brewing Company.
  • Short’s is nearly finished expanding its Elk Rapids tasting room, The Pull Barn. The changes will turn the outdoor, three-season tourist destination into an indoor, year-round location with custom bar and bathrooms. It may be open for inside service by the beginning of November. It will feature 20 drafts.

The current projects’ combined cost is $1.5 million, according to the release.

The company plans an additional $2 million in improvements in 2021, Newman-Bale said.

In addition to the Elk Rapids Brewery, Short’s operates a brewpub in Bellaire.

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