A large crowd gathers in the main hall of Flat Iron Brewing in Manistique. Brice Burge
What's happening: A new brewpub called Flat Iron Brewing has opened in Manistique. Named after the famous Flat Iron block of town (once home to 22 bars when the paper company tried to make Manistique an alcohol-free town before Prohibition), the brewery is the creation of a mix of former Manistique residents and their families. The brewery opened to a large crowd with seven beers on tap, salads, pizzas and breadsticks.
Bringing in experience: Flat Iron has a wide range of brewing specialists and beer aficionados on staff. The idea for the brewery started in the heart of the microbrewery district in Grand Rapids. Instead of building downstate, the group decided to move to Schoolcraft County because of cheaper real estate. That allowed the owners to find a large former gym and event center space on a southern peninsula jutting out into Lake Michigan.
The staff includes one of the most qualified brewers now in the Upper Peninsula. Ted Miller, former president of the Brewers Guild of Indiana, is leading the lineup of brews available.
What they're saying: “This came from a group of childhood friends just sitting around and discussing business ideas two years ago, and being down in Grand Rapids, we all enjoyed craft beers,” said Jake Boudreau, one of the owners of Flat Iron. “When we thought about what kind of business we all liked to do, we searched for the commercial properties and decided to look back in Manistique where we grew up.”
What's next: Boudreau is focused on adding staff to complement the 10 current full- and part-time employees. He said that with a campground within walking distance, Flat Iron is expecting a lot of summer traffic. Once hiring is settled, efforts will be made to connect with the community -- ranging from hosting an indoor cornhole league during the winter to showcasing professional soccer games as that sport increases popularity in the area.
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