Michigan is ranked one of nations best for breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs. To strengthen this industry, some believe Michigan should explore legislation that benefits both brewers and farmers in the state.
In both 2011 and 2012, the Michigan Legislature offered a resolution designating July as Craft Beer Month in Michigan, citing both economic benefits and benefits to Michigan's agricultural community.
It's a well-deserved designation. According to the Michigan Brewers Guild, Michigan ranks fifth in the country in terms of its number of breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs.
And demand for Michigan beer is increasing and exhibiting great opportunity for growth. The Michigan Beer Guide reports that the Michigan beer industry grew by 26% in 2011.
The benefits of Michigan's 100-plus breweries extend beyond the production of delicious locally brewed beer. The Michigan Brewers Guild estimates that Michigan's brewing industry contributes more than $24 million in wages with a total economic activity of more than $133 million. Michigan craft brewers purchase many Michigan-grown agricultural products, including hops, wheat, beet sugar, cherries and apples.
How can Michigan's elected officials support and strengthen this growing industry? The Northeast may offer some clues.
This past summer with near unanimous support from brewers, farmers, and New York State Farm Bureau, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that strengthens and further develops New York State's craft beer industry.