Business Matters: Michigan Brew Supply

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Nicole Kris and her husband, Matthew, own Michigan Brew Supply on Townsend Street in downtown Midland. They’ve been married for three years and have an almost 1-year-old son, Oliver. They have one employee, Jamie Daws, who Nicole wrote, “Not only works hard to keep the shop running smoothly, but he treats it with the kind of care, enthusiasm, and respect that we do as owners and we value that beyond words.” The shop offers all of the equipment and ingredients needed to brew beer, wine, hard cider, mead, kombucha, and other fermentables. They also sell home draft equipment, CO2 refills, and gifts for craft beer lovers. The retail shop is open Monday through Saturday, and the online shop is open 24/7 at www.mibrewsupply.com.

1. How long have you owned your business?

Matthew and I opened the shop as an online-only business in March 2013. Within a few short months, it became apparent that there was high demand for a physical storefront. I reworked the business plan as a brick and mortar shop, and we began looking for storefront space to be the new home of Michigan Brew Supply. The retail shop opened in downtown Midland in June 2014.

2. How did you get into this business?

I am fortunate to come from a whole family of entrepreneurs. My father, my uncles, my grandmother — they are such an inspiration and I always knew I wanted to follow suit. I had already graduated from college with associate degrees in accounting, marketing, and management, and was getting ready to transfer to Davenport to complete my bachelor’s degree in business administration. In 2011, Matthew and I were on a date discussing what we envisioned for our future, and the dream of a homebrew shop came to be. We loved craft beer, which led us into the wonderful hobby of making our own. And if we wanted to run a business of our own, it might as well be in something we loved. There was a need for a dedicated homebrew shop, too. At the time, the nearest homebrew shop was in Grand Rapids or Lansing, so you either had to make a day trip out of getting supplies or order supplies online.

3. What makes this area a great place to own a business?

Midland has a great mix of people and we’ve noticed that there is high turnover. There are people constantly being transferred in and out. We have friends all over the world who started out as customers who frequented the shop. That is not only a fun perk of owning a homebrew shop and being a part of the craft beer industry, but it is also a perk of being a Midland business. The DDA also offers incentive programs such as the incubator grant for new businesses which were helpful when getting started.

4. What are some ways your business is active in the local business community?

Michigan Brew Supply supports as many local charities and fundraisers as possible. We run a food drive in the fall that is donated in full to Midland County Emergency Food Pantry Network. Midland has an active homebrewing club, Dead End Brewers, that we collaborate with on a monthly basis for educational events, socials, and brew days. Education about beer and wine, the brewing processes, and the culture of craft beer is important because it earns the hobby the respect it deserves and helps eliminate the negative stereotypes that still exist about the industry.

5. What are some of your interests and hobbies?

Obviously, homebrewing beer and wine is a favorite hobby of mine. The hobby list is long though. Running is my first love, my soul is not complete without being a part of the Meznotik dance troupe, and disc golf is a sport I may never be great at but will always love playing. Our family can also be caught partaking in many Great Lakes Loons and Detroit Tigers games. We’re huge Red Wings fans and you can also catch us rooting loud for the Saginaw Spirit. We bike every Monday night with Counter Cruise in Saginaw, we camp Michigan’s beautiful state parks, and fishing with my family will forever be a favorite pastime.

6. What are some local businesses you work with that help make your business a success?

Mr. Moustache’s Phone Repair, located next door, donates all of his packing materials to us. He gets a ton of shipments on a daily basis for phone parts and we reuse them to ship products all over the US. This helps us reduce our carbon footprint and the reduced cost of materials allows us to pass savings along to customers. The owner, Josh, is also just a riot to talk to and is sure to put a smile on the face of any customer in the shop. I also have to give a big shout out to Crepes et Amis (on Townsend) for supplying me with the liquid energy I need to keep things running smoothly. Our USPS Mailman, Charles, and our UPS Driver, Jeff, are godsends for going out of their way each day.

7. Other thoughts?

We appreciate YOU! We could not have made it this far without you and we are forever grateful to be a part of this community. Small businesses are so important to the economy and especially now, in such a weird time — please shop locally any time possible! Small businesses do strive to be price competitive and beyond that, we likely have more expertise and can be of better assistance than any big box store or online retailer out there. Support your neighbors.