North Pier Brewing Company is a bright white building with an industrial vibe, standing out from the serene golf course surrounding it. The red lining to the alpine-like peaks contrast with the garage doors, and the hum of the river beside lends another variation. In a previous life, the building had turns as a birdcage factory and a repair shop before falling into neglect. Jay was familiar with the location from playing golf with his dad years earlier; the setting was undeniable, though the visual challenging, and he purchased the building in late spring of 2015.
Coming from stints in Bloomington and Chicago, Jay, his wife Jordan (also a Southwest Michigan native). Family was here, and as Jay drew up business plans, he realized it was also the place to make his dream of owning a brewery work.
As the renovations began, Jay found his brewer in Steve Distasio, and began to create a community space. He set a goal of opening when our Southwest Michigan community was in the national spotlight during the Senior PGA Tournament.
photography by Austin Ho
In May of 2016, the doors were opened, and locals embraced the newest addition to the brewery scene.
Throughout the summer, North Pier Brewing Company was bustling. Jay spent four months behind the bar, getting to know his customers. One of Jay’s favorite parts of owning a brewery has been the education component, and helping each of his customers find the beer they will enjoy drinking. It’s the goal of North Pier to have 12 beers on their rotating list, with their Belgian influences playing out in different ways. Jay’s personal favorite is the Magnum Dragon, a hoppy Belgian golden strong ale.
As the reach of craft beer expands, so does the demographic drinking it. Influenced by breweries on the West Coast, Jay mindfully created a space where everyone was welcomed. There is no “average” customer at North Pier Brewing; the benches and bar stools are filled with young and old, from the experienced beer drinker to the novice.
Jay has created a family space, too, for all family members (including the furry members). Dogs and kids are welcomed at North Pier Brewing Company. In fact, Jay and Jordan’s twins are just a week younger than the brewery!
North Pier Brewing Company is here to stay, just like the Fettig family (now of 5). The brewery is open year round, with plenty of events and a pretty awesome burger joint across the street. You can find them at 670 North Shore Drive in Benton Harbor; check out their website and Facebook for more of that information!
North Pier Brewing Company's Grand Mustachio Bashio happens December 3rd; click above for more details! It's a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Southwest Michigan, and falls perfectly after no-shave November...hope to see you there!