Blending business acumen, industrial engineering experience, and an affinity for craft beverages, two friends from DeWitt are working to bring a new microbrewery and distillery to Greater Lansing.
Business partners Aaron Hanson and Eric Elliott look to open Ellison Brewery and Spirits in Meridian Township in July to coincide with Michigan Craft Beer Month. The venture involves transforming a 4,600-square foot warehouse at 4903 Dawn Ave. into a destination for world class craft beer and artisan spirits made in Lansing—complete with a tasting room, production area and distribution facilities all in one.
“We’ll be creating a big industrial feel where you’ll experience all the aromas, sights and sounds associated with a microbrewery and distillery,” says Hanson, president of operations. “It will be a completely open concept, where if you sit at the bar, you’ll be able to see right into the brew house.”
Ellison Brewery will have the capacity to produce up to 5,000 barrels of craft beer annually on a custom-designed production line that draws on Hanson’s industrial training and experience. Distilled spirits will be produced through a smaller 53-gallon still and available for tasting room sales and limited distribution. Customers will be able to enjoy in-house wines in the tasting room, as well as a revolving menu of cocktails, meads, braggots and limited release craft beers. Eight beers will be on tap at all times, with selections rotating throughout the seasons
Brew masters Todd Schwem and cellar master Leon Traczynski will oversee the creation of craft beers and spirits, and round out what Hanson says is a solid, experienced management team.
“We’re putting a strong focus on being a distributor,” says Hanson. “We’re laying the groundwork now to get our products out to markets in Lansing, Detroit and Chicago.”
Hanson says customers will be able to take away craft beers in 64-ounce growlers, as well as specialty 32-ounce cans called crowlers. The “monster” cans, as Hanson describes them, are filled, labeled and sealed onsite, and provide a means for customers to store and enjoy products later.
“It allows us to give you something that’s perfect for tailgating or to take to places that don’t allow glass containers,” says Hanson. “It’s sealed and can be stored like a regular can of beer.”
Ellison Brewery and Spirits will create eight to 10 jobs.