Microbrews Becoming Big Business

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Folks have come from all over the country for Lansing's first ever Microbrew and Music Festival.

"I think it's a pretty good turn out for the first one they're having," said Maurice Holley, who drove from Indiana just for the festival. "I like beer festivals, and it's a three day weekend. I decided to look for a beer festival."

He said Lansing is among the best he has attended. He's staying at the Radisson Hotel as part of his package.

"This is awesome!" said Kim Gundry, from East Lansing. "This is actually really cool. They have like, every beer company in Michigan here, so it's actually kind of a sweet experience."

There are five bands and more than 100 musicians. Not only is the place rocking from all of the music, but the microbreweries say it is rocking their sales. This gives them great exposure.

EagleMonk is a local brewery in Lansing that employs about 12 people.

"It helps the Michigan economy. It helps the local economy. It helps generate tax dollars. It keeps people off unemployment, things like that," said Dan Buonodono, the co-founder of EagleMonk.

New laws are helping the industry flourish in Michigan. EagleMonk is considered a small microbrewery because it makes less than 31,000 gallons of beer each year. Under new laws, it can now directly distribute its own product to retailers, helping a small business grow into a bigger one.

"Now to have this in downtown Lansing, again representing all the great beer that we have in this state--it's just exciting for me," said Dan Bish, from Lansing. "Lansing is coming around."

"The entire country has undergone a renaissance with craft breweries. People are realizing that there's a lot more flavorful beer out there," said Sean Cudahy of the Shorts Brewing Company.

He's talking about people like Maurice Holley.

"I'll be back for year two," said Holley.

That's not just fun, that's good business.

More than 300 beers are available. Saturday's feature band is O. A. R. Tickets on Saturday are $55. The proceeds from the festival will help support the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

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