MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM)-The owners of many West Michigan breweries say their business actually started with home brewing.
Saturday, they shared their secrets with dozens of amateur brewers as part of "Learn to Homebrew Day." The event was organized by and held at the home of Eric Hoffman. Hoffman is the co-owner and head brewer of Unruly Brewing Company, which is opening in downtown Muskegon. He says home brewing is one of the reasons craft beer is now a $133 million industry in Michigan.
"When [home brewers] brew their own beer, their palettes get a little more sophisticated and they get pickier about what they're willing to drink and what they want to drink, " Hoffman explains.
Hoffman says the home brewing lesson at his Muskegon home was the largest gathering of its kind in the state. Other brewers say it shows how far the industry has come in the community.
"When you can get this many people out here to experience the passion people have for brewing their own beer, it says Muskegon is ready now to have its own brewery. We're ready to support and finally drink beer that was made in Michigan and brewed locally here in Muskegon," adds home brewer Casey Loring.
The Midwest home brewer of the year also took part in Saturday's gathering. He says the secret to award-winning beer is cold fermentation, brewing over and over and sampling other people's creations. Hoffman says the key to creating good beer is sanitation and fermentation-- making sure everything you use is clean and that you maintain the proper temperature throughout the process.