The history of Ellison Brewery and Spirits is an interesting and inspirational story. At a holiday party two years ago, two high school friends from DeWitt talked about opening a microbrewery and distillery.
It could work, they figured, because Lansing didn’t yet have a brewery large enough to sell its beer outside of its own taproom.
That early conversation has morphed into Ellison Brewery & Spirits — a microbrewery and distillery that could open by August in an industrial warehouse off Grand River Avenue in Meridian Township.
The brewery expects to make 5,000 barrels in its first year, owners said. Ellison would have a tasting room with six to 12 craft beers available to start.
Longer term, their goals are to find retailers to carry their beverages and to make wines and hard ciders.
“People are looking for something handmade, something that’s essentially farm-to-table, that isn’t mass-produced by one of these giant corporations that use computers to do most of their brewing,” said Eric Elliott, who will share ownership of Ellison Brewery with Aaron Hanson, his 2001 classmate at DeWitt High School.
Elliott and Hanson are not brewers by trade, so they’re bringing on brew and cellar specialists.
Elliott is president of sales for Uncle John’s Hard Cider, a brand made at Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns. His background includes working as a beer and liquor distributor.
Hanson is an automotive engineer who works primarily on advanced engine concepts.
Both say the Lansing market needs a larger craft beer industry, especially since it’s the state capital.