Thumb Brewery to build new brewing facility in downtown Caseville, increasing capacity and output

What’s happening: Thumb Brewery is open seasonally, from the beginning of March to mid- to late November, but it’s usually sometime in August when the downtown Caseville brewery completely sells out of its own craft beer, brewed in-house, and is then limited to selling beers from other Michigan breweries. At the height of their season, Thumb Brewery has 10 to 12 of their own beers filling their 28 taps, and with August just around the corner, they’re already down to seven. That’s about to change, however, as Thumb Brewery will celebrate the groundbreaking of their new “brewing barn.”

What it is: Construction of the Brewing Barn will move brewing operations from their small basement to an on-site, stand-alone building, increasing their brewing capacity from a one-and-a-quarter barrel system to a three-barrel system with a dual option, allowing Thumb Brewery to brew three times as much as their current output. The brewery hopes to have their new facility open by March 2023.

To celebrate, the brewery is holding a groundbreaking ceremony at 3 p.m. on Friday, July 29. Thumb Brewery pints will be available for $2.50 for all customers on the patio from 3 to 4 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and music from Huron Out also planned.

What they’re saying: “We’re building this from scratch. We took down an old, dilapidated garage and we’re building a steel, pole barn-like building that’s about 730 sq. ft.,” says Lauren Formicola, owner/operator and “chief bottle washer” of the brewery. “Guests can pull up a stool to a window and watch the beer they’re tasting get made.”

Backstory: Lauren and her brother Mark Formicola purchased Thumb Brewery in the summer of 2020 after Mark was on a road trip and spotted a for-sale sign at the business, which originally opened in 2014. They built a new kitchen, revamped the menu, and renovated the interior with new furniture, neon signs, and artwork. What they did keep was their reputation for craft beer; Nick Bowlby remains as head brewer well after the initial sale. The new brewing facility should allow Bowlby to continue innovating in that department, and make more of it.

Community first: Thumb Brewery is big on supporting local makers and the arts, as well as the greater Caseville community itself. There’s live music and comedy shows just about every weekend. Local artists’ works fill the walls. Fundraising events, like yoga on the patio, help raise money for a local women’s shelter and other causes. There’s a colorful, hippie and rock-and-roll vibe to the brewery now, says Lauren, and, judging by how quickly they sell out of their own beer, one that seems to be working.

“We’re trying to establish ourselves and Caseville as the destination in the Thumb,” she says.

Thumb Brewery is located at 6758 Pine St. in downtown Caseville.