Powers Celebrates 10 Years of Supporting Michigan Beer


ORION TOWNSHIP — Ten years ago, Powers Distributing recognized the potential of the Michigan craft beer scene, and began distributing Michigan Brewing Company’s beer in 2003. Today, Powers Distributing celebrates a decade of supporting Michigan breweries and has added more Michigan breweries to their distribution list.

“The craft beer industry in Michigan can’t be ignored. It’s everywhere you look,” said Gary Thompson, chief operating officer of Powers Distributing. “Michigan has become a craft beer force to be reckoned with on a national level. Our state is the fifth-largest craft beer state in the United States.”

When Powers Distributing decided to add Michigan craft beer to the distribution roster, they also created International Beverage Company, a subsidiary of Powers Distributing dedicated only to craft beer.

“IBC was created to focus on craft beers in a way that would increase their availability and growth but would also educate the retailer and consumer for knowledge and understanding of better beer styles overall,” said Dan Bryant, director of marketing of International Beverage Company.

Thompson added: “When we created IBC, at the time options were limited, but we wanted to start expanding as the craft movement on the West Coast was gaining a lot of recognition. After adding Michigan Brewing Company to IBC, we soon began distributing Warren-based Kuhnhenn Brewery and Dragonmead Brewery.”

Powers Distributing, as a business partner, helps smaller breweries get their products to retail and add marketing support, which provides opportunity for the breweries to expand.

Bryant explained: “What’s great about supporting our Michigan breweries is that we see them experience growth, which has added jobs to these local businesses, and grows Michigan’s economy at the same time.”

“Our partnership with Powers Distributing has resulted in steady, organic growth for our brand, largely due to their ability to visit and present our beer to every licensed account in their territory, while fostering the growth of their craft portfolio with their specialty division, International Beverage Company, said Eric Kuhnhenn, owner of Kuhnhenn Brewing Company in Warren. “We are excited for the future, as their knowledgeable sales and support staff help us continue to build the name and volume of Kuhnhenn Brewing Company.”

Powers Distributing makes it a priority to care for all the craft beer they distribute. Powers has a temperature-controlled warehouse and a refrigerated cooler. All draft beer and non-pasteurized products are kept in refrigeration, not only in the warehouse, but in Powers’ refrigerated draft trucks.

“We take beer quality very seriously here, and we even conduct random quality checks at retail throughout Oakland and Macomb counties,” said Gary Thompson.

Powers Distributing/International Beverage Company currently distributes the following Michigan-made beer and hard cider:

  • Cheboygan Brewing Company
  • Dragonmead Brewery
  • Griffin Claw Brewing Company
  • Kuhnhenn Brewing Company
  • North Peak Brewing Company
  • Right Brain Brewery
  • Saugatuck Brewing Company
  • Uncle John’s Hard Cider
  • Vander Mill Hard Cider

Michiganders are showing enthusiastic support for the state’s breweries. In doing so, that enthusiasm for craft beer has resonated to attract other American craft breweries to distribute in Michigan. Oskar Blues Brewery recognized that Michigan offers a very loyal craft beer community and recently entered the Michigan market. Powers Distributing distributes Oskar Blues beer in Oakland and Macomb counties. Oskar Blues Brewery recently won Beverage World’s inaugural Craft Brewer of the Year for 2013.