Bobby Mason didn’t always have a 200-barrel operation, multiple locations and beer known well across the state.
About 15 years ago, the Michigan Brewing Co. made his brew in a much simpler place — his basement.
It was there he developed his Mackinac Pale Ale, Superior Stout, Peninsula Porter and others brews now on tap at both Michigan Brewing Co. locations (soon to be four) and available at your local party shop or grocery store, (including and ).
Mason opened his Webberville-based business in 1995 with a 30-barrel brewing system, which has now expanded to 200 barrels.
“We can produce about 6,000 gallons per day,” Mason said.
In 2002, Mason bought Celis Beer, a small brewery in Texas, and brought the entire brewing system back to Webberville with a large convoy.
The company moved just down the road in 2006 when it outgrew a smaller location. It now operates out of a 76,000-square-foot facility at 1093 Highview Dr. in Webberville.
In the beginning of 2010, Michigan Brewing Co. added contracts with O&W Inc. of Ypsilanti and Eastown Distributors of Highland Park, which increased the company's points of sale across the state from 300 to nearly 2,300.
Michigan Brewing Co. struck a deal with Kid Rock and began to produce his American Badass Redneck Lager in July 2009.
Also in 2009, Michigan Brewing Co. opened a location in Lansing and will open another in Williamston this summer.
Along the way, Mason met Bill Tadrick, who will be the brewer/general manager of the Fenton location. Mason decided he would rather be in business with Tadrick, an independent brewer who had thought about opening a brewery, than against him.
“I told him I’d rather be his partner than his competition,” Mason said.
Tadrick, a Genesee County resident, said it was a call from his daughter that led him to check out the old Fenton fire hall,
“I had thought about opening a brewery,” Tadrick said. “I mentioned it to Bobby. It was just such a beautiful location.”
The heavy construction won't begin until after Michigan Brewing Co. recieves word on its requested alcohol license from the state. According to a church newsletter, the nearby plans to .
“We’re really excited to be in Fenton,” Mason said. “It’s a great city that is a nice, short distance from Metro Detroit and mid-Michigan, where we have a lot of customers.
“And now we’re finding that Fenton is full of people excited for us to be there, too. We’re looking forward to becoming part of the community here.”
Along with 10 to 20 beers on tap (a few of which that will be brewed only in Fenton), there will be an affordable menu.
“For Fenton, we’re looking at wood-fired pizzas, quality pub fare – nothing expensive,” Mason said, “But well-made, really good food.”