11 / 3
      12 / 4
      4 / -5

      From the brewery to the beer aisle

      Escanaba, future site of Bell's Brewery

      Three Michigan breweries are expanding. High demand for craft beers has prompted two Marquette microbreweries to begin bottling and one brewery downstate to open a new plant in Escanaba.

      They've all got something on tap, but soon you can take their beers home. Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette has recently purchased the former Coca Cola Bottling Plant on Washington Street and will soon have products on the shelves.

      "We're hoping that it pays off in the end and that people receive our products as well out in the marketplace as they have at our little brew house," said David Manson, Blackrocks co-owner.

      Owners hope to have the plant up and running in August.

      "After I move away from Marquette, you know, I probably won't be here forever, so it would be nice to be able to have a little taste of Marquette somewhere else," said Brian Dibbern, a regular visitor to Blackrocks.

      Blackrocks isn't the only brewery with some changes in store. The Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette has plans to have their beer in a bottle next year.

      "I think it will be great to put Marquette on the map as sort of this beer destination...It would be pretty great to have a couple wonderful beers out of Marquette that people downstate, that people in Wisconsin, people in Minnesota, will know Marquette for," said Andrea Pernsteiner, co-owner of the Ore Dock.

      "Anything that they would bottle would be excellent," said craft beer lover Tim Hietala.

      Soon, the Ore Dock and Blackrocks labels will be seen next to names like KBC, Founder's, and Bell's, which has some news of its own.

      Michigan's oldest and largest brewery out of Galesburg downstate recently purchased land in Escanaba at Whitetail Industrial Park for the new Upper Hand Brewery, a division of Bell's.

      "To have a brewery in the Upper Peninsula...what could be better? Seriously, I'm really looking forward to this...Next year, we'll have beer flowing out of there, and I'm super excited about the whole project," said Larry Bell, owner and founder of Bell's Brewery. Bell says he has an extensive history with the U.P.

      Bell's products already distribute to 18 states and Puerto Rico. Bell says he chose Escanaba as it is a crossroads in Upper Michigan. City officials are reportedly very enthusiastic about the new brewery.

      The plant is for production only, and the Upper Hand label will not distribute beneath the bridge. Bell plans to distribute beers like the "Upper Peninsula Ale" to the U.P., Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.

      "You want the U.P. beer? You got to come to the U.P.," Bell said.

      Bell hopes to break ground before the summer is out, so keep your eyes on the shelves for some new Upper Michigan brews.