Encore Magazine October 2021

Page 16

SAVOR ENCORE

Good Brews, Good Views

New locations, growth for local craft brewers Brian Powers

BY JOHN LIBERTY

T

hree area craft beverage companies have been growing in the midst of a pandemic economy.

Final Gravity finds deals The owners of Final Gravity Brewing Co. may have an unfair advantage over their peers in beer: Mike Christensen’s deal-finding prowess. The Christensen family, including Mike’s parents, Kevin and Trina, have opened an expansion of the company’s brewery operation on Phelps Street in Decatur. The budget-conscious father-son duo performed as much of the renovation work as they could. Mike also possesses a gift for thrifty online shopping that the family used to complete the project while still pinching pennies. “He opens up that laptop, and deals just fall out of it,” Kevin says. Take, for example, the new brewing system they are using. Mike, 16 | ENCORE OCTOBER 2021

Clockwise from left: Kevin, left, and Mike Christensen in front of the Newlands Brewing System at Final Gravity; the lineup of Final Gravity's brews; and Nicki Hostetler, left, and Amanda Mollett pour beer from the taps at Final Gravity's Decatur location.

who enrolled in Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Sustainable Brewing Program, identified a Newlands Brewing System as his preferred equipment. “It’s the Ferrari of brew systems,” Mike says. “We wanted something that would last — but on a budget.” He found a used Newlands system for sale by Phantom Canyon Brewing Co., in Colorado Springs, Colo. When it was first built in the 1990s, this particular system carried a price tag of more than $200,000, Mike says. He and his father flew out to Colorado Springs