NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) – The western end of Marquette County is buzzing with new business. The Upper Peninsula Brewing Company is one of them.
Its doors are now open and the beers are flowing creating a community meeting place.
“To bring more people to Negaunee, to help revitalize it,” said Ann Kantola, owner of the Upper Peninsula Brewing Company.
Kantola with her husband Jim, saw promise in the old Lafrenière’s furniture store; She said they have a love for old buildings. This one on Rail Street is over 100 years old.
“Buildings with a story, buildings that can be made current, brought to a new use,” Kantola explained.
That’s exactly what they did. The process started six years ago.
Kantola said the building had a lot of character, it just needed to be revealed. She added that it takes time and dedication, as well as following building codes that have changed over the years.
“Other than that bones we’re here, it’s a beautiful building, there’s a lot of space, it’s about 10,000 feet across both levels,” Kantola said.
The Kantolas poured their hearts into the renovation, because of their love for the Negaunee community.
“It’s a small local community; it’s easy to make an impact.
This impact stretched far and wide, bringing their head brewer, Erica Tieppo of Colorado to UP Upper Peninsula Brewing Company is Negaunee’s first modern brewery, and Tieppo is also one of Upper Michigan’s only female brewers to hold the highest title. .
“Some of our experiences and our presence in the industry are becoming more visible. It’s business as usual, there are definitely more men in the industry than women,” Tieppo said.
Tieppo strives to change that with their creative brewing approach using a blend of classic strains and Belgian yeast. She says the process takes about 2 weeks from start to finish, everything happens in-house.
“And you end up with a shiny finished product here,” Tieppo said.
She says there are currently 12 different styles using the new modified strain. It produces fruit flavors and these beers have been a hit.
The brewery opened its doors to the public at the end of January, the Heikki Lunta weekend, with its grand opening on February 11.
Kantola says the venture has been well received.
“Reducing traffic in one place improves traffic in other places.”
Upper Peninsula Brewing Company has embraced the UP outdoor lifestyle by including the great outdoors in its logo, with the building right next to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.
“There are so many ways to be a part of outdoor adventures, which are so centered around the experience of living in Marquette County, it’s not just a place to go and drink beer, it can be the beginning or the end of your outdoor experience,” Tieppo said.
The business is looking to expand into food as it has a small kitchen, so if you are interested in renting this space to serve, the Kantolas want to hear from you.
Click here for more information.
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