How North Channel Began
The story of North Channel began back in business owner Ron Ford’s garage in 2010. Ron and his family started brewing beer out of their garage as a hobby to try new flavors and different styles of beer. The beer was a huge hit, and it became a regular tradition to invite family, friends, and neighbors over for a drink after the latest batch was created.
North Channel was born out of a desire to keep up that celebration, and extend the party to their community: Manistee.
The Ford’s saw a gap in the “brewery boom” in the 2010s. There are tons of breweries in Grand Rapids, several in Ludington and Traverse City, but none in their hometown of Manistee. Additionally, Manistee was in the midst of an economic lull when the Ford’s went to create North Channel Brewing Company.
“My parents saw an opportunity to help the community they love while also pursuing a dream they had developed in their garage all those years ago,” said Madison Ford, marketing and social media manager for North Channel Brewing Company.
The Ford family started looking for a building to house their new brewery, and instead of building from the ground up – they looked to the past. The family took time to refurbish and clean up a historic furniture outlet in downtown Manistee, completely refurbishing the building from the inside, including plumbing, electrical, and foundational work.
After the renovation, North Channel officially opened in 2017.
Community and Sustainability
For the Ford’s, helping the community they serve is the most important part of running their business. This includes protecting the environment and making North Channel Brewing as sustainable as possible. From the start, they launched various sustainability initiatives, including swapping out old lighting for LEDs, composting and reusing kitchen scraps with local farms, buying efficient appliances, and supporting Michigan’s forests through Keep the U.P. Wild. Now, in the brewery’s fifth year of operation, the family decided to balance 100% of their natural gas use through CleanVision Natural Gas Balance.
CleanVision Natural Gas Balance helps customers address their natural gas carbon footprint by providing carbon offsets and supporting the development of renewable natural gas (RNG), which balances the impact of natural gas use.
“Manistee is a beautiful natural area. There are lots of scenic areas and protected woods, and we want to protect that as best we can. We are always looking for ways to give back and be climate-conscious, which is why we do all of these initiatives,” said Madison.
To learn more about North Channel go to northchannelbrewing.com. Business customers can learn more about CleanVision Natural Gas Balance here, and residential customers can learn more at dteenergy.com/naturalgasbalance.