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Council OKs microbrewer license for new business on Harper

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 21, 2016

Joshua Rainey Photography/Shutterstock

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — The Kayes were bit by the craft brewing bug when they lived in San Diego several years ago.

Around 2009, Kat Kaye said, the craft beer brewing industry was really hitting its stride out in California.

“You’d go around and there’s all these small breweries opening up in warehouses ... throw open the doors and just a little table and everyone was standing,” she said. “It was very rugged and the beer was amazing. It was an amazing culture.”

Her husband, Jeff Kaye, got so interested in the process that he began homebrewing his own beer. 

The couple moved to Grosse Pointe Woods shortly thereafter, but it wasn’t until a few years later that they thought about brewing for more than just themselves.

“Now, three years later, it’s finally happening where we finally found a location,” said Kat Kaye. 

The taproom, Jamex Brewing Co., will occupy 21721 Harper Ave. Named for their two sons, Kat Kaye said they will be brewing smaller two-barrel batches at Jamex and hope to have eight taps for beer and two for cider. St. Clair Shores City Council approved a microbrewer license for the business Sept. 6, which does not require one of the city’s remaining two Class C liquor licenses.

Jeff Kaye is a shipping manager for a small company in Rochester Hills, and Kat Kaye is a stay-at-home mom raising their 3-year-old and 15-month-old sons, Alex and James. 

“We dreamed about opening a small brewery for quite some time,” Jeff Kaye told City Council Sept. 6. 

He described a business that would be “neighborhood-friendly,” selling ciders, lagers and ales by the glass and in growlers. 

“We are not going to produce any food, but down the line, we’d like to team up with some local businesses” to offer food through catering, he said. “That part of St. Clair Shores, there’s plenty of good restaurants.”

The Kayes’ goal is to have a revolving tap, with different beers to tempt customers’ tastes. Jeff Kaye has more than 100 beer recipes and is “always finding new ones,” his wife said. 

“We want to go with what the public wants,” Kat Kaye said. “If there’s a beer that they absolutely love, then we’re happy to designate a tap for that, but we also want to keep things new and fresh and different every time they come in.”

Jamex Brewing Co. will brew both lagers and ales, a departure from many microbreweries. The room will have a bar and about four tables for customers, and the brewery will be on the premises right behind the tasting room.

Councilman Peter Rubino said he was happy to have a building that has sat empty off and on be used again.

Rather than competing with St. Clair Shores’ other microbrewery and tasting room, Baffin Brewing Co. on Jefferson Avenue, Kat Kaye said that having more microbrewers in town creates demand. 

“We can bring in more crowds to St. Clair Shores to go beer tasting,” Kat Kaye said. “The more breweries that open up here, the better for everybody.”

The Kayes hope to open the business by Christmas or early January.

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