Opening a brewery in the Eastern Market section of Detroit is a genius idea.
The upcoming Eastern Market Brewing Co. has several brave young entrepreneurs at the helm who are combining delicious beer, bold new ideas, a focus on community spirit and a healthy obsession with elephants into what is shaping up to be one of the hottest new brewery openings in a long time for Detroit.
Dayne Bartscht, a snappy dresser with a British university education (ie: MBA from University of Cambridge in England) and advanced sense of community unification, is co-owner, along with friends Devin Drowley, Paul Hoskin, Brad Silverman and Dave Keyte.
Four of the five friends attended Northwestern University outside Chicago. Devin is a homebrewer and Dayne owns a barn in Ann Arbor where beer experiments are conducted on a 1-barrel (ie: 2 kegs) pilot system.
Recently, I toured the brewery with co-owners Dayne & Devin and Caroline Forster, the PR and events coordinator. I was able to hear the fascinating tale of the creation of the Eastern Market Brewing Company.
“Everything just kind of fell into place for us with this whole thing,” says Dayne, “My wife and I have a one-year old. We were living in England and found that many people in Europe have a very bad impression of Detroit, so I found myself becoming a passionate advocate of the city. We finally decided to move back, start a family and a business.”
“I saw this building was for sale, so I called the faded phone number of the side of it. The owner called me back two weeks later. We bought the building and we’ve been working on creating a startup brewery here ever since.”
The building Dayne is referring to is the circa 1929, two-story, 5,200-square foot old meat packing plant located at 2515 Riopelle Street, which will soon house their brewery.
“We’re going to have a main taproom on the ground floor,” says Dayne, “Beer will stay in big tanks and be tapped directly to the bar. There will be long German-style beer hall tables here.”
“Upstairs, we have a large open room of exposed and sand-blasted brick walls, that will be a games room of cornhole and shuffleboard. Then above this, we will have a rooftop beer garden.”
“We also want to create a small brewery-related library on the ground floor comprised of shelves overflowing with books about beer and the brewing industry for anyone to read.”
“We are starting off small with a 5-barrel system,” Dayne says, “We’ll have an interesting portfolio of 9 to 12 beers and we will use local ingredients from Eastern Market in the beers.”
“No bottling plant as of right now. However, we will have some food in the form of a food truck outside and a small kitchen inside for pop-up’s and later, food pairings.”
“Hazen Schumacher, who is a native Detroiter, is our head brewer. He has major street cred since he worked at Bells Brewery, Atwater Brewery for 16 years, Brew Detroit, etc. We’re very lucky to have him on-board. Hazen will be joined by assistant brewer Sean Bourke.”
Danny Jacobs designed their elephant logo, which is significant because not a lot of breweries have animals as logos.
“The elephant is a really social animal, an animal that works well with their community. The elephant is a sign of luck and collaboration, values we think best represent the brand,” says PR & Events Coordinator Caroline Forster.
Caroline Forster says, “I grew up on Detroit’s Eastside, then moved to Paris and the Netherlands, got into craft beer while living in the Netherlands, and wanted to be a part of the Detroit renaissance, so here I am.”
Devin Drowley has also been intimately involved in the entire operation.
“We’ve been incredibly lucky and fortunate,” says Devin, “The City of Detroit has been very supportive through this whole process. The hardest parts have been navigating the maze of paperwork, plan review, zoning, getting contractors, etc, it’s been a lot to organize.”
“It’s also surprisingly hard to find a mason. A lot of the masons are booked up. Our general contractor is great though. Once again, we are very thankful to everyone who is helping us out.”
Until they open, you can catch Eastern Market Brewing Co. selling merchandise at the end of Shed 2 on Market Street.
When they do open for business, you can enter the main door on Riopelle Street or they will also have an A-frame easel sign in the alley with an alley entrance, so you can walk right from Eastern Market to the brewery!
Dayne sums everything up nicely, “Beer is a great way to bring people together.”
After you check out the 1st annual Detroit Festival of Books on Sunday, July 16th, you can walk from Shed 5 down the street to the Eastern Market Brewing Company!
Great books, great beer, great Eastern Market, great day in Detroit, what more do you need?
Eastern Market Brewing Company
2515 Riopelle Street
Detroit, MI 48207
Danny Jacobs graphic designer