The lures of job creation, increased tourism, lower overhead costs and prize-winning stout were enough for the Lake Township Board to unanimously accept an offer for the former Michigan State Police post at 9301 Red Arrow Highway during a special meeting Monday, Oct. 27.
The board gave Supervisor John Gast the go-ahead to finalize the offer of $500,000 from Chicago brew pub owners John Neurauter and Pete Crowley, co-founders of Haymarket Pub & Brewery. Still to be negotiated are closing and Realtor costs and on-site equipment inventory.
Neurauter told the board that the group planned to invest more than $1 million in bottling equipment alone at the Bridgman site and would also open a tap room and small pub. At the end of their three-year expansion plan, he said they hoped to employ up to 40, with more than half of those as full-time positions in the bottling operation.
McGuire’s Professional Construction, Inc., will be the general contractor for the project. Owner and Lake Township resident Zane McGuire expressed his support of the project and the owners’ commitment to the area and its local talent. Neurauter owns a second home in Lincoln Township.
Neurauter promised to be a good neighbor to the adjoining Graceland Cemetery, which is maintained by the township, just as they are to their Chicago neighbors. That four-year-old pub is located in a 100-year-old building at the corner of Halsted and Randolph Streets in the largely residential neighborhood near the historical marker at the site of the Haymarket Riot of 1886.
Haymarket’s signature stout, “The Defender,” this year won the dual honor of a gold medal at the Great American Brew Fest and the Gold Award at the World Beer Cup, two national events held in Denver. He said they are members of the Michigan Brewers Association and have long enjoyed the brewing climate in Michigan.
Neurauter said that while he planned to largely gut the interior of the building, the outside appearance would remain the same. He said rather than disturb the 100-year copper roof, plans were to dig a pit in the center of the building to accommodate the 18-foot height of the brewing equipment.
The 1,300-square-foot structure was built by township in 1994 for occupancy by the state police at a cost of $1.2 million. The 17.6 acre site has been on the market since the state police vacated it in fall of 2011. The original asking price was $810,000, which was lowered last spring to $750,000, reflecting its declining assessed value, when the township signed a new sales agreement with commercial real estate broker Stanley Wisinski of NAI Wisinski of West Michigan.
During discussion, board members said they believed they had tried everything they good to sell the property and would be glad to rid themselves of the yearly utility and maintenance costs they have been paying.
Calli Berg, executive director of The Greater Bridgman Area Chamber of Commerce and Growth Alliance, helped acquaint the pub owners with the area and gave credit to the cabbage soup at Lydia’s restaurant as helping to prompt the offer.
Update below from Haymarket on the FB. Full scale production brewery slated to open in spring 2016.
Haymarket Brewing Company, which currently owns and operates Haymarket Pub & Brewery in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, has purchased property in Bridgman, MI, with construction slated to begin immediately on a full-scale production brewery. The property is a former state police post on Red Arrow Highway. In addition to a production brewery, the existing structure will be remodeled to include a taproom and kitchen serving wood-fired pizzas and house-made sausages. The future brewery sits on 17 wooded acres, and will feature a large outdoor beer garden, as well as space to host a variety of outdoor events.
Owner and Brewmaster Pete Crowley is excited about the eastward expansion plan. “I’m proud to call myself a Chicagoan and be a part of its great craft brewing scene for over 15 years. During that time I met my business partner John Neurauter, who introduced me to beautiful Southwest Michigan. I am looking forward to joining a second amazing group of brewers and to be able to call both places my home,” says Crowley.
Crowley and Neurauter opened Haymarket Pub & Brewery in 2010, specializing in classic Belgian and contemporary American brewing styles, with an emphasis on hops, barrel aging and a wide variety of authentic Belgian yeast strains. The West Loop pub’s kitchen offerings include house-made sausages, smoked meats, specialty pizzas and other handcrafted fare. Crowley is a highly decorated brewer, having won over 70 local, national and international awards for his beers, including medals from the World Beer Cup®, Great American Beer Festival® and the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer®. Varieties range from refreshing Pilsners to hoppy ales to rich Imperial Stouts aged in bourbon barrels, a brewing technique that has put Crowley on the national beer map for his pioneering work with this specialty. Most recently, Haymarket’s “The Defender” American Stout won gold medals in 2014 at both the World Beer Cup® and the Great American Beer Festival®.