DETROIT (WJRT) - (02/17/17) - It's become the hot spot for brewing beer in Michigan - Brew Detroit.
"The whole thing is 70,000 square feet and on any given day, we're brewing one of 12 local, Michigan brands," said Brew Detroit’s Operations Manager, Rob Nicholl.
Since last fall, this Corktown neighborhood brew-house has been busier than ever - that's after contracting with its first national brand, Stroh's Beer.
"It's like a giant homecoming. It's like the friend that has gone away for 30 years across into Europe or something, and now they're back and back for good," Nicholl said.
You heard that right - Stroh's Beer is back in Detroit, the city where it was founded in the year 1850. The original plant closed in 1985, and since then, Stroh's has been brewed in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Now owned by the Pabst Brewing Company, its team was looking for something to help reignite the product.
"We stopped and looked at it, and it just made sense. The brand had been missing something for the last 30 years. When we stopped and thought about it, it really was the connection to Detroit and the people," said Eric Phillips, the brand ,anager for Stroh’s Brewery Co.
Following its return to Michigan, Stroh's has definitely seen an increase in sales. Brew Detroit has even had to add four new fermentation tanks.
"We couldn't keep up with production for the first two to three months. As soon as it hit the stores, it was gone," Nicholl said.
"You could sense the energy and excitement people had to realize that this brand, that is Detroit and has these deep roots and stories and that impacted families, people moved here to work for Stroh's, just amazing," Phillips said.
Nicholl comes from one of those families. Back in the day, his mom worked on Stroh's marketing campaigns.
"We always had Stroh's posters on the wall and things like that. To have it come home and even though I'm not a Stroh's family member, but a second generation member kind of thing, it's real fun and exciting," he said.
Right now, Stroh's is only making its Bohemian Style Pilsner beer at Brew Detroit, but down the road, other styles could be added as well.
"I can't divulge all the details on what's happening down the road, but we do have a few in the works," Phillips said.
That's all great news for Brew Detroit and Michigan's workforce.
"We're at probably 25 to 30 people now. If their production continues in the way they're looking to go, we could easily add a second shift, which is another 10 or 15 people, so it just keeps going and going," Nicholl said.