… and that’s bringing young professionals to downtown

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By Max Johnston
Listen Up, Lansing staff Reporter

Michigan’s craft beer industry is booming, with the number of breweries in the state doubling since 2010. Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Detroit and Ann Arbor have all been densely populated with breweries and craft beers for years. However, according to owner of Ellison Brewery & Spirits Eric Elliott, Lansing trailed behind the rest of the state when it came to craft beer.

The Lansing Brewing Company in downtown Lansing. Photo by Max Johnston.

The Lansing Brewing Company in downtown Lansing. Photo by Max Johnston.

“After spending some time away from Lansing and coming back, I could just tell we were lacking in this up and coming brewery scene,” Elliot said. “Lansing was like a desert, you could go to Detroit, you could go to Grand Rapids, you could go to Traverse City to get cool handcrafted beers, but you come to Lansing and there’s wasn’t anything.”

Sawyer Stevens, Head Brewer for Lansing Brewing Company, said Lansing’s lack of breweries was the reason that the Lansing Brewing Company was founded.

“I call Lansing the last frontier in Michigan of craft beer because there’s nothing here,” Stevens said. “We came here because it’s an under-served market. People wanted it here, but couldn’t find a brewery.”

It may have taken some time but Lansing is finally catching up to the microbrewery boom. In the past 4 years 3 new breweries have opened their doors. The expanding brewery scene is important for downtown Lansing’s economic growth because, as previously reported, the area has struggled to attract young customers and professionals.

Now, young consumers like Jared Haun are finding their way to downtown Lansing like never before. Haun says the new breweries are perfectly tailored to him and his friends.

“They give a sort of gathering place for our generation,” Haun said. “For our generation the microbrewery scene is huge, and it happened to correlate with our generation coming of legal drinking age, so we have a lot of beer connoisseurs.”

Young people are coming out and Stevens has noticed. Stevens said that young customers and professionals are accounting for some of his brewery’s success.

“They fill the place up, young people like that love craft beer,” Stevens said. “

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