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Stateside Podcast: Up North with Short's Brewing Co.

A man in a grey shirt, with black glasses stands against a window with almost 20 taps behind him, most reading "Short's Brewing."
April Baer
Joe Short, founder of Short's Brewing Company, stands in the taproom of the main Brewery in Bellaire, Michigan

If you are a regular at the craft beer section of your local grocery store, it’s likely that you are familiar with the Short’s Brewing Company lineup of beers. The Bellaire-based brewery is the third largest craft brewery in the state, behind the two Michigan giants – Bell’s and Founder’s.

Short’s Brewing Company brings both unexpected and highly accessible brews that many beer drinkers know and love. Some of their hard hitters are Local’s Light, Soft Parade, and their offshoot of Starcut ciders.

The brewing company’s founder, Joe Short, said that they strike a balance between producing well-established brews and developing new, cutting edge beers. When IPAs dominated the craft brewing scene, he redirected his attention to beers like lagers. But it's not just about what his competitors are doing. Short upholds creativity in his craft.

“For me as the brewer and the creator, it’s just working backwards from what’s inspiring you. So when you have a beer that sounds cool to make and challenging to make – see if you can actually pull it off.”

Short said he thinks about the company as being the “Willy Wonka” of beer, and that a lot of their customers are curious about “what’s going on in the factory and what the new thing is that’s going to come out.”

Short’s Brewing has been around since the early 2000s, and the company is now entering a new stage of it’s life. Short jokes that the company will be leaving behind its teenage years and become “almost adults in our craft brewing world.”

Short said this new stage has him thinking about brand building and becoming mature and “older.” Part of this means reexamining what beers went right, and deciding which of those beers to resurrect.

“Let’s get the best one out of that batch and remind people how good it is and maybe we can start shifting from some of the traditional styles.” Short said.

Customers can have a lager, pale ale, brown ale, IPA, but perhaps in the future they could also consider a pistachio or longstanding seasonal beer as a staple. For Short, it's all about finding the “right wave” and “right beer” that fits a customer’s heart and soul.

This episode originally aired on May 15, 2023.

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Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions.

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Laura is Executive Producer of Stateside. She came to Michigan Public from WDET in Detroit, where she was senior producer on the current events program, Detroit Today.
Dan Netter joined the Stateside team as an intern in May 2022 and is a senior at Michigan State University studying Journalism and Social Relations & Policy.