The year was 1973, and Jack Archiable was studying literature and psychology at Ohio
University. In his spare time, he was learning how to make beer. Little did he know this fun hobby would one day turn into a full-time business.
Now Archiable spends his days at Traverse Brewing Company, Ltd., a microbrewery located
just south of Elk Rapids. Since 1996, he‘s been brewing up stouts, ales, and porters, all lovingly named after Northern Michigan hang-outs -- Old Mission Lighthouse Ale, Manitou Brand Amber, Sleeping Bear Brown, Torch Lake Light, and a host of others.
But starting a business in these North Woods takes lots of courage and stamina, not to
mention a good sense of humor. “Our motto has always been, ‘We‘re too dumb to go away, and
we‘ll make the best beer possible,‘“ he jokes, then adds a bit more seriously, “ We‘ve constantly kept focused, and we love what we‘re doing here.“
The “we“ he speaks of is himself, beermaker John Niedermaier, assistant brewer Sam
Sherwood, and Elaine Edstrom, who handles much of the office work. John Edstrom, who founded the business with Archiable, is no longer with the company, but a host of dedicated volunteers are taking up the slack, for which Archiable is extremely grateful.
“We have an incredible volunteer staff,“ he says. “I have people who help on the bottling
line, who help move snow... and they get paid with a hearty pat on the back and with low fills off the bottling line, and they‘re happy.“