Why is Michigan a beer state?


Curious to know why Michigan is known for being a beer state? Let’s travel back in time to the 1800s when beer was more popular than water and the competition among brewers was fierce. Michigan beer goes back to 1829 when the Cleveland Herald covered a shipment of Detroit beer making its way down the Great Lakes for the first time. Between the 1840s and the 1880s, Michigan beer was diverse and localized through mom-and-pop shops. Typically these shops sold to customers within a few blocks of the surrounding area. Detroit had 40 brewers counted for in 1862 not including dozens of others brewers scattered across the state.

A few decades later in history comes the Prohibition era. Realistically, the brewers had to get creative when it came to keeping business in secret operation during Prohibition. Bigger companies began the making of legal canned hopped malt syrup, which is actually the key ingredient for home brewing. For example, Detroit brewer John Zynda took his full operation underground. To avoid getting into trouble with the police, Zynda dug a tunnel from his shop to a garage across the street. This way he was able to roll the beer to safety, one half barrel at a time. Speed forward to 1933 – Michigan was the first state to ratify the 21st Amendment that repealed Prohibition.

Every since that point in time, Michigan brewing continued to grow into what is it today. From 2007 to 2010, grocery store sales of Michigan craft beer doubled. Michigan brewing is now a $133 million industry, ranking 5th in the nation for its number of breweries. Now in 2015, Michigan has more than 80 breweries.

Now that you feel proud to live in Michigan or even be a Michigander yourself, here is the Michigan Beer Fight Song for you to learn!

The Michigan Beer Fight Song by: Fred Bueltmann

Let’s drink Michigan beer
From coast to coast, from far and near,

It’s local and delicious,
Any styles that you wishes,

Raise your glass and toast your friends
Let’s drink MICHIGAN BEER!

Let’s drink Michigan beer
Bring it home or drink it here

From the U.P. to the mitten
There’s no tellin’ what you’re gettin’

From Motown to the Soo
Find a beer that pleases you.

Get tipsy down in Ypsi.
Let’s drink MICHIGAN BEER!

Source: foundmichigan.org and mibeer.com


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