Friday, October 25, 2013

[NEWS BITES] Pedal-powered brewery coming to Detroit

Aaron and Shawn Grose have a crazy idea. They want to open a nanobrewery in Detroit - that's not the crazy part (based on the response Batch Brewing Co. has received, there is a mega market for nano beer in this city). No, the crazy part is that they aim to make the entire brewery operation 100% pedal-powered.

It makes sense, what with Detroit's exploding cycling scene and the symbiotic relationship that seems to exist between beer and bikes.

So here's how it will work: customers will come in and ride bikes (think of them like the stationary bikes at the gym) and create pedal power. That power is then used to power the brewing equipment, so, essentially, pedalers are actually helping to brew the beer themselves. (And how often can you really say that?)

Of course, you're not obligated to contribute your personal pedal power; you can just come in and drink like at a normal brewery. But those who pedal receive membership accounts with an escalating point system to get discounts, merchandise, and other freebies. AND, if enough pedal power is produced, their utility costs will be significantly lower, making the beer significantly cheaper. Everybody wins!

Their pedal-powered brewery concept is called Windmill Pointe Brewing Company, named after Windmill Pointe in Grosse Pointe. Aaron and Shawn are both Grosse Pointe natives and the name not only pays homage to the harvested energy of a windmill, but also to Detroit's history (Windmill Pointe was first settled by French farmers and the whole area was filled with ribbon farms). All of the beer they will brew will have names that refer back to some piece of local history. Both are avid home-brewers and long-time industry vets.

They do not yet have a location for Windmill Pointe Brewing but would ideally like to be located in Eastern Market. This February they will host a private tasting party and fundraiser kick-off featuring their home brews where they hope to be able to use their pedal power technology (which they're still figuring out) to brew a five-gallon batch right then and there. To start out, they need to have about 20 bikes to power a 2.5-barrel system.

It's still very much in the early stages so it's far too soon to say anything definite - right now it's still just two dudes brewing beer in their garage - but the concept is certainly promising and it will be interesting to see how it develops after the holidays. They would like to open sometime in 2014.