ST. CLAIR SHORES — After years of chasing their tails, two metro Detroit men are settling in St. Clair Shores with a microbrewery on Jefferson Avenue.
“We’ve been brewing together for five years,” said Evan Feringa, who grew up in Grosse Pointe.
With the help of investors and the encouragement of family and friends, when the building at 25113 Jefferson Ave. — just north of 10 Mile Road — became available, they decided to give it a try.
Royal Oak residents Feringa and his partner, Joseph Dowd, said that Short Tail Brewing Company will be a microbrewery and taproom where patrons can enjoy beer on premises and also purchase kegs and growlers to take home. They will not sell food but plan to work with local restaurants to deliver food to the microbrewery.
They plan to brew everything from American cream ales to IPAs, Belgian Flanders sours and oak-aged stouts and porters, ciders and more.
Dowd works for Chrysler and Feringa trained at Dragonmead Microbrewery in Warren, and studied at the World Brewing Academy at Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago.
Feringa said weather had delayed some of their construction plans but they expect their request to be approved by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission in mid-July, which is when they will be able to start producing beer. It takes three weeks for an ale to ferment, he said, so they hope to open the first or second week of August.
“It sounds exciting,” said Councilman Chris Vitale.
Feringa and Dowd were before City Council June 16 requesting approval of a resolution recommending Short Tail Brewing Company for a microbrewer license. The state’s microbrewer license is issued to a manufacturer of no more than 30,000 barrels of beer per year who will be able to sell to licensed wholesalers. The license also allows free samples to consumers at the brewery facility and for the microbrewer to sell beer it makes for consumption on- and off-premises without an additional license. The license does not require the use of any of the city’s four remaining Class C liquor licenses.
Mayor Kip Walby asked about potential odors from the facility, but Feringa said foul brewing odors are mostly the result of negligence on the part of the brewers.
To begin brewing beer, he said, grains are steeped — like tea — to extract the flavor. Some brewers then take the steeped grains and put them outside until garbage pickup day. That is not the plan for Short Tail, he said.
“What we are doing, what Dragonmead does … we have farmers lined up, after every brewing cycle … to pick up the grains, put it in their fields for cattle to eat,” he said.
The steeped grains can also be used to make bread or dog treats, he said.
“We have a lot of plans in place to eliminate the cause of that smell.”
Feringa said there would be six beers to start, all different than any other brew you could find.
“I don’t ever want to make a beer that tastes like another beer,” he said.
Dowd said several establishments in the city have also expressed interest in selling Short Tail products when they are available and that they would be doing so as soon as production allows.
Feringa said they came up with more than 1,000 names over the course of the company’s development, but they were watching their dogs — Dowd owns two corgis — one day chase their tails constantly.
“I was always told I was chasing my tail with this dream,” Feringa explained, which led to their motto — “Follow your passion. Chase your tail.”