Researcher Spotlight, USDA Grant, Michigan Brewers Guild Celebrates 25, and More!

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March 2022


Researcher Spotlight: Brook Wilke

Kellogg Biological Station, Long-Term Agroecosystem Research, Michigan State University

Brook Wilke

BROOK’S TAKE ON THE RESEARCH: The Michigan Craft Beverage Council (MCBC) provided funding for our MSU malting barley research team to extend our work to other grains of interest, starting with cereal rye. We’ve evaluated 20 varieties of rye for their suitability to be grown for grain production and be used to produce spirits – most notably rye whiskey. It turns out that rye varieties are very different in their agronomic, winter survival, and distilling characteristics.  We’ve generally found that higher-yielding varieties have milder flavor profiles, while low-yielding types have spicier flavor profiles. We have some preliminary evidence that suggests the growing location also influences the flavor profile of the rye and are starting a new project to dive into this question in more detail.

I’m super excited about the connections that I’ve made in the distilling industry through the MCBC projects. We have some very innovative spirit producers in Michigan, and the MCBC projects have provided avenues for connections to many of these individuals and businesses. The opportunity to continue to help facilitate the success of Michigan distilleries and farms sustains my motivation for this work!

View the MCBC research database to find research reports. Search keyword “rye”.

This is the first in a series of researcher profiles. All profiles will be published to our website.

View Brook’s bio page at MSU

NE Michigan Food and Beverage Processing Webinar

Thursday, March 24th at 9:30 AM

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation teams have partnered up with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development,  MSU Product Center, Taste the Local Difference, North East Michigan Council of Governments, and the Small Business Development Center to offer the NE Michigan Food and Beverage Processing Support webinar.

This webinar will feature highlights from our resource partners, SBDC, Taste the Local Difference, and the MSU Product Center, followed by a Fireside Chat with Jodi GrunerMDARD, and Natalie Rubino, Store Director at Woodward Corner Market/Meijer.

Register for this free event!

Cheers to 25 Years of Michigan Beer!

MI Brewers Guild 25th Anniversary logo

To celebrate the Michigan Brewers Guild's 25th Anniversary, they are inviting friends from Michigan and around the world toshout out to the Guild on this momentous year! Share a little about when and how you connected with them, what you love or learned about Michigan’s brewing community, any stories you might have related to Michigan beer, or what you look forward to over the next 25 years.

 The Guild welcomes entries in form of video, short story, or an audio clip. Simply create and upload one of the following:

  • A video, 60 seconds or less (.mov, .mp4)
  • A written story (.doc or .pdf)
  • A photo (.jpg, .png, .pdf, .tiff)
  • An audio file (.mp3, .wav)

 Please follow this link and select "Beer Lovers" to submit your story!

Michigan Brewers Guild be accepting files throughout 2022, but encourage you to submit your story by April 1, 2022.

Michigan Wine Month Update

To promote the upcoming Michigan Wine Month, the Michigan Wine Collaborative (MWC) will be coordinating a "You Name It" Campaign. This campaign encourages consumers to develop a slogan for 2022 Michigan Wine Month this May. MWC will be promoting this campaign on Facebook and Instagram, and instructions will be posted on both platforms. The marketing and communications committee will select three winners for best slogans. Please reach out to Emily or Brian Lillie with any questions.

Follow Michigan Wine Collaborative on Facebook and Instagram.

Opportunities for mechanization and precision viticulture in Michigan vineyards

Michigan wine grapes

Grape growers in Michigan face many environmental challenges, including short growing seasons, cool summers, high humidity, and variable precipitation that can limit fruit production and quality. As a result, managing climatic constraints with better and faster decision-making is critical for achieving target yields, fruit quality, and, ultimately, economic sustainability in the vineyard. Precision viticulture technologies provide reliable tools for collecting and analyzing various vineyard and grapevine data. Read more about mechanization and other technologies.

Michigan Cider Association Seeks Competition Judges and Cider Entries

Great Lakes Cider and Perry Competition logo

The 16th annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition is taking place May 18-20 in Grand Rapids. Visit to register cider entries. There is no limit to the number of entries you may register. You may also register additional entries while registration is open simply by submitting a new entry form.

The event is also looking to fill volunteer positions, including hard cider judges. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit and complete the questionnaire.

Many thanks to the Michigan Cider Association for their support of this incredible event!

USDA Value Added Producer Grant Accepting Applications

Electronic submissions due April 25

USDA is now accepting applications for the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. Agricultural producers may apply for planning grants up to $75,000 or working capital grants up to $250,000. Refer to the Federal Register for application guidelines. Contact a Michigan Rural Business Specialist near you for more information by emailing  

Michigan Retailers Association Announces New Grant Program for Local Communities

Proposals due April 1 and winners announced after April 15.

Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) has created a new grant program to support local communities and the vibrant retail businesses that anchor those downtowns.  As part of its Buy Nearby Program, MRA’s on-going public service awareness program that encourages consumers to shop local, MRA will issue four (4) $7,500 awards to communities across Michigan that demonstrate out-of-the-box ideas that promote their downtown shopping districts.

Submission Deadline April 1

Michigan-based communities, local downtown business associations, chambers, and convention & visitor bureaus are encouraged to visit submit proposals online. Please direct all questions to Jennifer Rook at

Upcoming Meeting of the Michigan Craft Beverage Council

The next meeting of the Michigan Craft Beverage Council will take place on Wednesday, April 13 at the Michigan Biotechnology Institute at 1pm. View meeting schedules and other information about the Council.

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Michigan Craft Beverage Council
PO Box 30017
Lansing, MI 48909


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