These 10 research projects innovating Michigan's craft beverage industry just won grants

What’s happening: Whether it’s beer, cider, spirits, or wine, Michigan’s craft beverage industry continues to thrive – but that doesn’t mean the industry’s growers and makers are content with coasting on their success. Earlier this month, the Michigan Craft Beverage Council announced the recipients of its 2023 research grant program, a group of 10 projects that will continue to push the industry forward in the years to come.

What it is: The Michigan Craft Beverage Council consists of 10 members as appointed by the governor and serves as an advisory to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. This year’s research grant program awards a total of $350,000 to ten projects that will advance the agricultural inputs for craft beer, spirits, wine, and hard cider.

Top shelf: Michigan State University dominates the list of funded research projects, with seven of the ten projects belonging to a university that consistently ranks as one of the top agricultural schools in the U.S. and beyond. Their projects include the investigation of apple fruit rot control and the diversity of wild yeast populations; managing late season cluster rot of wine grapes; meeting Michigan’s grape and wine industry educational needs; developing quality analysis protocols for non-barley grains used in craft beverages; identifying new apple varieties for hard cider production; using meta analysis and diagnostics to improve hop and barley quality; and evaluating corn varieties for the Michigan craft distilling industry.

Michigan-based environmental engineering firm Lakeshore Environmental has received two grants, including one for wastewater characterization of craft beverage industries in Michigan and another for evaluating vermifiltration on winery wastewater.

And finally, the Traverse City-based Phenology Wine and Cider receives a grant to monitor grape-growing conditions in Charlevoix County.

Why it’s important: “Michigan’s craft beverage industry continues to be the launching pad for many household brand names found in your local stores,” says Dr. Timothy Boring, Chair of the Michigan Craft Beverage Council and Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “This expanding industry is a true success story. Not only for the new businesses taking hold and providing valuable jobs, but it’s also increasing demand for new specialty crops, giving producers more avenues to diversify their crops and build resiliency on their farms. I’m proud that Michigan is a destination for world-class craft beverages while supporting next-level growth for our breweries, distilleries, wineries, and cideries.”

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