June 19, 2018

Brewers Getting Together at Breweries Having Brews

March 11, 2016

In the early years of northern Michigan’s craft beer scene, beer makers from competing breweries used to gather to talk shop.

They’d meet once a month at someone’s brewpub, have some beer and swap ideas.

After Traverse City’s Workshop Brewing Company opened in 2013, owner Pete Kirkwood heard about those meetings and decided he wanted to try to revive them.

THEY CALL THEMSELVES SOBS

Late last year, he got the meetings going again.

"Before my time, there was kind of an informal group that was happening," Kirkwood said. "Every once in a while, people would mention it. I called the first meeting and did it at the Workshop."

They call themselves Traverse City Society of Brewers or TCSOBs for short. It’s a men’s club, with the exception of Tina Schuett, owner and brewer at Rare Bird.

There have been two or three meetings since then that have moved from brewery to brewery.

"There’s no formal agenda; there’s nothing formal about it," he said. "People are welcome to post agenda items or we just hang out and have a beer."

Kirkwood said the meetings demonstrate that, despite a crowded marketplace with so many breweries competing to attract a finite number of customers, Traverse City’s beer industry remains congenial and cooperative. There’s always been a spirit, Kirkwood said, of one brewer willing to help another brewer out, whether that means lending a pinch of yeast, a pump or some advice.

OPPOSED TO LINE 5

At a recent meeting, Kirkwood got the brewers in attendance, five or six of them, to agree to oppose a controversial oil pipeline.

"The most recent thing we did as a group, we resolved that the brewers of Traverse City are opposed to the Line 5 pipeline," Kirkwood said. "We think there shouldn’t be an ancient pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac."

It was a natural thing for Kirkwood to bring up; his wife, Liz Kirkwood, is executive director of FLOW, a Great Lakes advocacy group that dubbed the line dangerous and has called for its removal for several years.

Kirkwood still has to draft a letter to make the brewers’ position official. He said it only makes sense that brewers would take that position; they depend on clean water and the dollars of tourists who come to northern Michigan for the beauty of the Great Lakes.

Trending

Welcome to Michigan’s Most Remote Brewery

After years of planning and honing his beer-making skills, this spring, Patrick McGinnity plans to open Beaver Island’s first microbrewery. Opening a craft brewery is challenging. Opening one on a remote island in Lake Michigan that’s either a 15-minute plane ride or a two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride from ... Read More >>

Gaylord: A boomtown Up North

Gaylord native Gary Scott had moved to Indiana, where he and some partners started a business to invest in distressed properties. He was talking to a banker in Detroit about real estate in Bloomington when he asked what kind of deals might be available in northern Michigan. ... Read More >>

The Latest on the Region's Wine Scene

So many wines, so little time. Each year brings new vintages, new styles, new tasting rooms and events, even new grapes. With some four dozen wineries scattered around the region, how do you keep up with what’s new and exciting? For starters, the Old Mission Peninsula Wineries ... Read More >>

Does Grand Traverse Bay Have a Plastic Problem?

Some seasoned beachcombers noticed an alarming amount of plastic trash washed up along Grand Traverse Bay this spring, fueling worry that’s been building over how so much plastic is getting into the Great Lakes and what the consequences might be. Photographer John Robert Williams has spent years ... Read More >>