E-Malt. E-Malt.com News article: USA, MI: Northern United Brewing Co. working together with city administration to expand production of craft beer in Dexter

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E-Malt.com News article: USA, MI: Northern United Brewing Co. working together with city administration to expand production of craft beer in Dexter
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Northern United Brewing Co. wants to add product development and production kitchen and possibly a restaurant at its Dexter location. It also wants to dramatically increase production of its craft beer, but first the city needs to find out what it needs to handle the effluent such an expansion would add to its waste water system, heritage.com reported on March 13.

The city and Northern United Brewing Co. are working together to study ways to allow the brewer to expand its business without hurting city infrastructure.

The company is looking to expand production of its craft beer at its Dexter facility significantly over the next few years as well as adding a product development and production kitchen, a tasting room for its food products and even a restaurant. The city’s wastewater system has the capacity to handle the expansion, but it may need help with the added effluent expected from NUBC.

Community Development Director Michelle Aniol said the city and brewer are working with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Michigan Department of Agriculture to get the process started. The MEDC can provide technical assistance and funding to do a study on getting the waste water system set up for the byproducts of the new production (bio-oxygen, phosphorus and solid waste), she said.

“They want to in the future (have) production go to 70,000 to 100,000 barrels a year,” Aniol said about the company’s five-year plan. “They are now at 8,000 to 15,000 barrels a year.”

Aniol said NUBC’s plans are common among craft brewers across the nation who are experiencing quick growth in demand. The state is strongly supporting the Michigan-made craft beer industry.

According to information from the city, Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed a nine-bill package of bi-partisan legislation designed to help create jobs and increase tourism by helping to expand the state’s craft beer industry.

“Of particular interest is Public Act 42 of 2014 (HB 4709), which allows microbrewers to increase production from 30,000 barrels per year to 60,000 barrels per year. The reality of this action is that facilities to accommodate this type of production are not found in downtowns or typical general commercial locations; they are found in industrial parks,” Aniol’s report states.

Craft beer is one of several industries that fall under the heading coined by the USDA of “value-added agriculture.” These are industries that transform an agricultural product such as wheat into flour and to make a product popular with consumers, such as bread bakers.

“They are making a huge contribution to Michigan economic growth,” Aniol said of value-added agriculture businesses.

Locally this includes the Dexter Bakery, NUBC, and Ugly Dog Distillery among others. They join an industry that is second only to autos and ahead of tourism.

According to the Michigan Farm Bureau:

• Michigan's food and agriculture system accounts for more than $101 billion in direct, indirect and induced economic activity annually.

• The above contribution represents more than a 50 percent increase in economic impact from a 2006 study.

• Michigan's agricultural economy has been expanding at a rate five times faster than the growth rate of the general economy.

• Agricultural production and processing contribute more than $24 billion to the state.

So while the company looks on how to grow on its end, it’s the other end of the line that is the issue. Aniol said the city is working on learning what kind of additions it will have to make its waste water system to be able to handle the material the brewery will add.

“NUBC is not going into the waste water treatment business,” Aniol said. Its priorities are going to be on product development and production kitchen and maybe a restaurant, she said.

Aniol is working with the city’s engineer and the brewer’s engineer to learn the terminology to be able to ask for the correct technical assistance funding from the state.

18 March, 2015

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