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Craft brewing a $300M industry in the Upper Peninsula

(WLUC)
Published: Oct. 1, 2019 at 4:25 PM EDT
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The craft beer industry has boomed over the last decade, accounting for $328 billion nationally in 2018. Michigan is a top five beer producing state with an economic impact of nearly $10 billion annually.

"So when you look at the economic impact, it's not just that pint of beer at a local brewery, but it's the jobs that come from that and that extension of it," said Joanna Wilbee-Amis, director of business initiatives with Invest UP.

$346 million of that total is from production here in the Upper Peninsula. That money comes from far more than just brewing and distribution.

"Tourism, we know that craft beer is a great driver of people that are interested in touring different breweries and then the impact that they have with their additional spending with going to restaurants and shopping, and spending nights in hotels," said Wilbee-Amis.

Invest UP credits the marketing skills and willingness to participate in the community for some of the success of Upper Peninsula breweries.

Several U.P. breweries have beers for purchase throughout the region.

"The beers, the labels, the advertising they do is that so many of them are love letters to the Upper Peninsula and say they're inspired by fresh clean water, or talk about enjoying in nature,” said Wilbee-Amis. “They really represent the things that we hold valuable to us."

With an industry still growing, there always seems to be room for more. Drifa, a craft beer brewing cooperative will soon be joining the Upper Peninsula's brewing city.

"It's just really exciting to be a part of the overall picture and to be helping people enjoy craft beer and helping them get to know craft beer and be able to experience it in a slightly different way at Drifa," said Paul Wright, vice president of the Marquette Brewing Cooperative.

Drifa's grand opening is set for Thursday, October 3. They'll be the 23rd brewery in the Upper Peninsula, and the fifth in Marquette.

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