President Mary introduced today’s speaker Brett Cotton, co-owner with his wife Krista, of the Cotton Brewing Company in Adrian (both shown in photo at left).
Brett said he worked for Sprint at their headquarters in Washington D.C. before he became interested in brewing beer in 2005 when he spent some time in Washington, D.C., and visited a number of microbreweries with friends, tasting a wide variety of beers and one in particular – Dog Fishead beer. He moved to Adrian in 2008.
The Cottons began brewing beer for their own consumption at home and visiting micro breweries in other communities, Cotton said. He believed Adrian would be a good place for a microbrewery because none now exists in Lenawee County. People who want to visit a microbrewery would have to drive to Jackson, Milan, Ann Arbor or Maumee, Ohio, he said. “It just seemed like it’s a needed a microbrewery business,” Cotton said. As a microbrewery, the business will keep the focus on beer, as opposed to a brew pub, which is a restaurant that brews its own beer, Cotton said.
There are currently 200 licensed locations in Michigan today who produce only of all beer sold in Michigan. Bells Beer, he said, only has about 2% market share in the state. Their brewery will be located on Oak Street and even have seating for about 24 patrons. There will be 16 handles for taps there.
Brett announced that his company will be selling all of the beer at the Lenawee County Fair this summer and will be located under the grandstands. The Cotton’s have experimented with producing different types of beers one of which included bacon and maple syrup! Hops, he said, are used in the manufacture of beer to counteract the sugars in the blend. The grains, he said, give beer its color. Among the commitments he’s made the balance of the year include: a festival this coming Saturday in Kalamazoo, the Ella Sharp Park in Jackson, the annual Beer Fest in Lansing that will sell over 2,000 kegs among the vendors that will be there.
Their initial equipment will allow them to produce about a barrel a day, he said. A barrel of beer is 31 gallons, he said. He hopes to expand that to 93 gallon batches in the near future. By the way, we'll be selling this beer in September at the annual Art-A-Licious Festival!