Short's Brewing Company

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Short's Brewing Company
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 2004
Founder Joe Short
Headquarters Bellaire, Michigan, Elk Rapids, Michigan, United States
Area served
Products Beer
Production output
34,443 Barrels (2014)

Short's Brewing Company is a brewpub and microbrewery in Bellaire, Michigan, United States. Registered in 2002, the company opened its pub in 2004. In 2008, a production facility in Elk Rapids, Michigan was purchased and renovated to accommodate larger scale batches. July 2017, Short's announced it sold 19.9% of the company to Lagunitas Brewing Company, who in turn is owned by brewing giant Heineken International.


Short's Brewing Company was registered as a business in 2002 with the State of Michigan by 22-year-old Joe Short.[1]

In 2003 a 100-year-old empty hardware store in Bellaire, Michigan was refurbished for use as a brewpub. The pub opened on April 26, 2004, initially housing a seven barrel brewing system utilizing five fermentors and five serving tanks. First year production totaled 178 barrels.[2] During the fall of 2006, Short began work on The Imperial Beer Series. By 2007 the 13 series beers were released, each one with its own trading card and story.[3]

Short's purchased an old manufacturing building in Elk Rapids, Michigan in January 2008, to accommodate larger scale batches separate from the brewing done on-site at the brewpub.[4] The first Elk Rapids batch of beer was brewed in January 2009. With the Elk Rapids warehouse facilities, production capacity increased to thirty thousand barrels per year.[5] The bottling line is designed to process 800 cases per day.[6]

In 2013, the company set a world record for the largest tap takeover[clarification needed] when it served 100 Short's draughts for the August 22 opening of HopCat's new location in East Lansing, Michigan.[7] In 2014 the company produced 34,443 barrels.[8]


The pub offers space for community gatherings, local art (even the bar was made by locals),[9] and live performance. The pub always has 20 beers and Starcut Ciders on tap.[10]

Production site[edit]

The Elk Rapids production site is a 30-barrel brewhouse. The site has 21 fermentors and 6 bright tanks. Short's beer is brewed with natural ingredients and is unfiltered. Every bottled product and some kegs are flash pasteurized. The production site is geared to brew and package 56 different beers in 2014.[citation needed]


The beer is distributed mostly in the upper and lower Michigan peninsulas,[11] and is sold in over 3,200 locations statewide. Short's beers are packaged in 12oz bottles and various sizes of kegs. Flagship brews are available year-round in the state of Michigan. Additionally Short's bottles over 40 seasonal and specialty beers annually. In January 2016, Short's announced that it will expand its distribution territory for both brands (Short's Brew and Starcut Ciders) to include additional states.[citation needed] In March 2016, Short's began distribution in Indiana and Ohio markets through Cavalier Distributing.


The company culture begins with the concept of the public house or “pub.” Compared to other alcohol establishments, pubs hold a unique place in the American experience. The colonial pub was the pillar of the community. Pubs were places to catch up on local business, gather a good meal and take in a libation brewed on site by the local publican. Early taverns were full of life and comfort. The Short’s Pub in Bellaire, MI is an attempt to revive that hominess and is representative of the quality, creativity and conviviality throughout the company and products. The family-oriented and entrepreneurial nature of the brewpub extends through the fabric of the company as a whole. Creativity is consistently encouraged among the entire staff, with an understanding that all employees have much to contribute to the Short’s Brewing Company ethos. Exemplifying the “power of smallness,” Short’s enjoys the excitement of being one of the largest craft breweries in Michigan while also maintaining the tight-knit, hard-working attitude of a small business. Matching the seriousness of purpose in the workplace is a driving passion for recreation. Located in the heart of what we know as the “real” up north (Antrim County has a total of two traffic lights), easy accessibility truly makes the natural world our playground. Whether it's mountain biking or kayaking, trail running or hiking, snowshoeing or alpine-, cross-country-, or water-skiing, the Short’s staff plays with the same lust for life that inspires every beer brewed.[12]


2009 Great American Beer Festival[13]

2010 RateBeer Best Beers In The World [14]

  • #64 - 100 Best Brewers in The World
  • #5 - 50 Best Brewpubs

2010 Great American Beer Festival[15]

  • Key Lime Pie- Gold Medal- Experimental Beer

2010 World Beer Cup [16]

  • Black Licorice Lager- Bronze Medal- Herb & Spice Beer or Chocolate Beer

2011 Draft Magazine Top 25 Beers of the Year [17]

  • The Gambler

2014 Great American Beer Festival[18]

  • Key Lime Pie- Gold Medal- Experimental Beer

2015 Great American Beer Festival[19]

  • Melt My Brain - Silver Medal - Experimental Beer


  1. ^ "Our Story - Short's Brewing Company - Michigan Brewery Short's Brewing Company". Short's Brewing Company. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "History of the Brewpub - Short's Brewing Company Short's Brewing Company". Short's Brewing Company. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Imperial Beer Series". Short's Brewing Company. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Milligan, Beth (February 2008). "Brewer taps into Elk Rapids expansion". Traverse City Business News. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  5. ^ "VIDEO: Short's Brewing Co. brewmaster Joe Short talks about his company's expansion into Elk Rapids". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Shorts Brewery products to be on grocery shelves soon
  7. ^ "See all 100 Short's beers on tap for HopCat East Lansing's record-attempting opening". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Short's overtakes New Holland in 2014 production". Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Inc. 5000 Applicant of the Week: Short's Brewing Company". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "Michigan's Best". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "FAQ". Short's Brewing Company. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  12. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Brewers Association. "GABF Winners". Great American Beer Festival. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "ratebeer best 2010". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  15. ^ Brewers Association. "GABF Winners" (PDF). Great American Beer Festival. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  16. ^ "Past Winners". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  17. ^ The Beer Runner (1 November 2011). "Top 25 beers of 2011". DRAFT Magazine. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  18. ^ Brewers Association. "GABF Winners". Great American Beer Festival. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  19. ^ "Great American Beer Festival" (PDF). Great American Beer Festival 2015 Winners List. 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 

External links[edit]