Old Nation brews up tradition in Williamston

Travis Fritts is all about sharing what he learned from masters worldwide with folks back home.
On June 10, Fritts opened his long-awaited microbrewery and pub in Williamston. Old Nation Brewing Company rose from a multi-year vision that transformed the former home of the Williamston police and public works department into a combination beer production facility and restaurant.
"It's been a long haul," says Fritts. "The field of craft beer is really opening up for those of us who've been slugging it out for a decade or so. There are beers we've been working on and are eager to share."
Old Nation will feature a rotation of 12 brews in the restaurant and pub. All beers are brewed in the back-of-the-house on a custom designed production line specific to craft beer. The microbrewery will roll out 10,000 barrels a year, with a capacity for 30,000. In the fall, Old Nation will introduce five brews to the retail market.
And then there's food, overseen by Chef Chris Blank and General Manager Paul Stewart of East Lansing's Crunchy's fame. Creative menu selections include dishes like sour kraut, beef and noodle entrees, vegetarian and vegan items, and, of course, fries.
"Everything you can think of that you'd like to eat with beer, we'll have," says Fritts. "It's all part of our central ethic: to take simple ingredients, use the techniques we've learned, and make special beer and food."
Fritts co-owns Old Nation with Rick Ghersi—a fellow brewer and business partner. And while Ghersi is a Detroit native, Fritts claims Dimondale as home and always longed to bring his stouts, pilsners and ales back to his Mid-Michigan stomping grounds.
Fritts earned his brewing pedigree from the Technical University of Berlin and through his work under master brewers at Webberville's Michigan Brewing. Relocating to Southeast Michigan, he applied his master brewing credentials to creating inspired craft beers through the Detroit Beer Company. Old Nation, he says, is a culmination of that experience, and a way he can carry on tradition through the next wave of Michigan brewers.
"We're brewers, we're tradesmen, and we're proud of our trade," says Fritts. "We're not trying to be rock stars. We're not trying to be on TV. We're not trying to sell anything but the best beer. While that's not a great sales pitch, it's what sets us apart from the pack."
Located at 1500 W. Grand River Ave., Old Nation features a 3,000-square foot restaurant and pub for 65 patrons, an outdoor seating area for 24, and a 22,000-square foot production area. The microbrewery and restaurant will employ 35 people including kitchen staff, servers, brewers and production personnel.
Source: Travis Fritts, Co-owner, Old Nation Brewing Company
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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