Jasper Ridge Brewery was built from the ground up in 1996 when light–bodied beers were big sellers and dark beers were hard to push.

But as years passed and tastes developed, the brewery evolved its beers to meet the demands of a society where every other person seemed to be a good beer seeker.

Pat Beyer, General Manager of Jasper Ridge Brewery, said, “They travel a lot. They see the beer in other cities. They’ve become more educated by everything that’s on TV, from all the different travel and food channels that are on. So I think that’s really helped our area have their taste in beer changed drastically.”

Beyer just brought in a new brewer from my native Grand Rapids, which makes me excited to have a Beer City brewer in my own backyard.

“I think [Jeremiah’s] going to bring a different feel; a different energy to the brew house than we’ve ever had,” Beyer said.

“Started getting my foot in the door and eventually landed a job brewing at White Flame,” Jeremiah Zimmerman, Jasper Ridge’s new brewer, said, “making good beer and working with the Grand Rapids society of brewers and getting the whole Beer City, USA thing going and tying the first year with Asheville, NC and then obviously the second year just really gaining some momentum and bringing Beer City to Grand Rapids exclusively, which was really cool in itself.”

Having been around for 17 years, Beyer has seen how the Upper Peninsula’s beer scene has grown, especially in the last few years.

Beyer said, “A lot of people talk about certain areas downstate that have grown, but I mean we’ve gone from five breweries to 13 breweries in a matter of just a couple of years so I think our growth is pretty impressive also if you base it on how many people are actually living in the U.P. compared to a lot of counties or areas downstate.”

Both Zimmerman and Beyer are looking to the future and are excited at the opportunities that lie ahead.

“The brewery there at Jasper Ridge is a great system,” Zimmerman said, “and with the right brewer behind it the production can really increase, and now with self–distribution passing; if that equates to a business model for us at Jasper Ridge where we can start producing more beer and bring in guys like Michigan Mobile Canning and things like that to start packaging more product then we can get more of it out there.”

Beyer said, “I think we might go in a little bit different direction now as far as some of the ideas that he has; some of the recipes that he wants to brew. I’m really looking forward to him getting here and being a part of Jasper Ridge.”

Zimmerman is looking forward to bringing his brewing style to the U.P. and growing the foothold the U.P. has in Michigan’s craft beer industry.