From basement brewers to regional success – the story of Blackrocks Brewery

MARQUETTE — What started out as just a hobby in a basement for a couple of Yoopers is anything but that these days.
Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette is growing.

The company recently announced plans that are taking their products into neighboring Wisconsin. ABC 10’s Jerry Taylor recently sat down with one of the co–founders of the brewery about the company’s latest endeavor in the booming business that is making beer.

“You don’t get a lot of reboots in life. We really enjoy brewing beer.”

What started out as an experiment 5 1/2 years ago for David Manson and Andy Langlois is anything but an experiment these days– it’s a full–blown business.

To put their growth in perspective, they started brewing beer with a five–gallon system in a basement. Now, they have ten 40–barrel fermenters making beer that’s sold at their bar on third street, across the U.P. and in the Lower Peninsula.

“With our initial launch into our local market, we felt pretty good about it,” said Blackrocks Brewery co–founder David Manson. “We don’t have to be as a company super saturated in those markets. We’d like it to stay relatively niche as far as some good bottle shops. We’re not in a lot of the big massive chain (stores) or anything.”

“It’s been great to just see how we’ve all kind of had input in key aspects of the business and slowly watch it organically grow,” said Steve Farr, who is the ‘Pirate of Propaganda’ at Blackrocks. “It’s interesting to look back on because it seems like such a natural process.”

That natural process has now taken them on yet another journey to the Badger State, where their products are now available to residents from the Fox Valley, north to the Michigan border.

“The fit for us was really good. We met with the distributors there and there a lot like a U.P. type of distributor, a little less big city, kind of a real kinship as far as our geographic proximity,” said Manson. “We get a lot of feedback through social media. People have been able to find it and are happy to see it.”

“In reality we’re making beer for people to enjoy, so it’s a pretty awesome industry and we feel lucky to be in it. When asked about taking their beer any further than two states, Manson says they haven’t made a full commitment as to what their future growth plans will be, but one thing is for certain– they’re never leaving Marquette.

“This is our home,” said Manson. “This is where we like to find good people who we can work with and if we can scratch out a living doing that here, then that’s great.”