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US. Michigan Brewing Company to Create New Fenton Trademark Beer

Michigan Brewing Company's plans to open a restaurant and small brewery in the old fire hall are rolling along, and they include producing a new beer with a Fenton trademark.

The Fenton Fire Hall Brewery will feature a new local beer, said Bobby Mason, president of Michigan Brewing Company. The new brew, to be created in Fenton, will be manufactured at Michigan Brewing Company's Webberville location if it becomes popular. Then it could become available around Michigan and the rest of the U.S.

Fenton City Council's approval was in support of microbrewer, small wine maker and small distiller licenses. The licenses, with this local support, will go to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for its decision. No entertainment permit is included, and Michigan Brewing Company will request an outdoor service patio license, Mason said.

Michigan Brewing Company has an agreement with the Fenton Downtown Development Authority (DDA), to open a restaurant and pub at the old fire hall at 201 S. LeRoy St., by July 2012. Its microbrewery license allows it to produce up to 30,000 gallons of beer annually, and the small wine maker license allows for the production of up to 50,000 gallons of wine. The small distiller license includes the manufacture of brandy, and means the company cannot exceed 60,000 gallons annually of all brands combined.

Fenton Police Chief Rick Aro said the licenses allow for free samples at the manufacturing premises are allowed, and the Fenton Fire Hall Brewery can serve drinks to patrons on the premises or for take-out. Plans are for high quality food and a pub atmosphere.

Mason said the Fenton Fire Hall Brewery will not produce drinks for wholesale. The location will have stainless steel equipment and copper tanks for its small-scale brewing operation. In addition, they plan to restrict brewing to four days per week Wednesdays through Saturdays, with none on Sundays.

Councilwoman Cheryl King asked whether the hours of operation work with the Fenton United Methodist Church nearby. She appreciates them all working together, King said.

"Good things take time," Mason said.

The location will be open for lunch and dinner. In Webberville, Michigan Brewing Company's restaurant is normally open until 11 p.m., and until midnight on weekends and during the summer. In winter, hours are cut back.

Mason has no criminal history or other concerns that would prevent him from receiving the license, Aro said. In addition, Michigan Brewing Company has a good reputation with law enforcement at its other businesses.

"Thank you, we look forward to having you," Mayor Sue Osborn told Mason.

In addition, council approved the transfer of a liquor license to Beale St. Smokehouse BBQ, 2461 North Road. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission needed council's approval in order to proceed with its decision.

The new owners of the restaurant, Lisa Reading, Phillip Canup and Steven Pender made the request. Their plans are continue the family-style restaurant, and serve drinks. In addition, they asked for, and council approved, a new entertainment permit to provide "blues style" music for their patrons.

Fenton police's background investigation found nothing that would prevent approval, Aro said.

15 Jun. 2011

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