The idea for Ore Dock Brewing Company was born several years ago, the product of Wes and Andrea Pernsteiner. In 2012, that idea came to fruition with the help of several investors and one internationally trained brewer.
Nick VanCourt, Head Brewer at Ore Dock, said, “You know they were hiring for this and I said, ‘Well I went to school in Marquette and I’m pretty interested in what you’re doing;’ threw my hat in the ring, also offered to help source equipment. I was working in Wisconsin in a brewery at the time and did what I could to help and kept my hat in the ring and I guess it was about June of 2011 that I was offered a job. I then decided with my wife that we’d invest as well to be 5% owners, and came up to work in November and we were open by May of 2012.”
VanCourt brews on a 10 barrel system and many of the beers Ore Dock offers on tap are Belgian and French inspired.
“We do a different saison for every season,” VanCourt said, “saison being the French word for season. We also do a couple different Belgian wits through the year, seasonally. These are the kind of beers that hold a lot of potential and a lot of complexity even brewed with just the simple four ingredients and that’s what I love about them so much.”
During the day, Ore Dock’s first floor serves as the tap room and is open to the public while the upstairs operates as more of a gathering place for community events.
Andrea Pernsteiner, co-founder, said, “Also, we do a lot of live music up here and just have other events happening so the size of the space allows us to do that. And being in downtown Marquette, people can walk here people can bike here. It’s just a really awesome situation.”
And while Ore Dock beers can be found on draft throughout Marquette County, they’ll soon be available by the bottle.
VanCourt said, “We’re in the process of getting the tanks online and the equipment in to do that. Most of it’s here. It’s just a matter of getting it working and getting everything ready to go. This summer we will have bottle product, at least a few brands to start, and we’ll hopefully add to that as we go. We’ll be starting in the county, like we did with draft beer, and see how far we can go from there.”
The U.P.’s beer scene has grown exponentially in recent years and the Ore Dock has been a significant part of that growth.
“People from all over can cross the bridge or come up from Wisconsin and do a U.P. beer tour,” Pernsteiner said. “I think there are 13 breweries, there might even be 14 now, in the U.P., and you could get a map and you get spend a week just traveling to breweries and enjoying all the outdoor fun that the U.P. has to offer.”
VanCourt said, “Most of the breweries up here are growing as fast or faster than they planned to and I think Michigan as a whole has an incredible brewing scene, one of the best in the country, and I don’t think there’s any reason why the U.P. can’t be a part of that if not a leader in that as these breweries up here grow and expand their distribution and their products.”
With a welcome and inviting setting and quality brewed craft beer, Ore Dock Brewing Company has become an important part of Marquette’s community.