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Posted on Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti seeking OK for expansion to allow increased beer production

By Paula Gardner

Ypsilanti’s Corner Brewery is poised to grow this year, thanks to plans for a new accessory building next to the main structure that will allow more and faster bottling.

Also on tap for 2011: the addition of “green” building features.


Rene and Matt Greff opened their Corner Brewery near Ypsilanti's Depot Town in 2006.

Courtesy of Corner Brewery

Ypsilanti’s Planning Commission will hear a request March 16 for a special use permit and site plan review for the property at 720 Norris, just north of Depot Town.

The proposal seeks permission to add a 2,000-square-foot building that will be used for storage, freeing up space for the brewery to add bottling capacity.

Owners Matt and Rene Greff shaped the plans in late 2010 as they set multiple goals for their businesses, which also include Arbor Brewing Co. in Ann Arbor.

The couple — traveling this week in India as they set up their first international franchise — said expanding Corner Brewery will allow increased production.

“The addition of that extra storage will free up space in the existing brewery for our new bottling line, which will increase our bottling speed from 12 bottles (per) minute to 55 bottles,” Rene Greff wrote in an e-mail.

The new building also will allow the brewers to buy supplies by the truckload, “which will help considerably with our cost structure,” Greff said.

The effort aligns with a green “retrofit,” calling for energy-saving features that will be added to the structures on the property, said Teresa Gillotti, Ypsilanti’s planning director.

The new accessory building will feature geothermal heating and cooling, and photovoltaic and solar-thermal panels will also be added, Greff said.

All of the windows will be replaced, too, she said.

They'll be "historically correct windows to maintain the 1950s industrial look that is a signature element of the building,” Greff said.

The new building will be located at the east end of the existing building, “tucked in behind the outdoor cafe,” Gillotti said, if plans are approved. The Historic District Commission also had to rule on the new building, new windows and solar panel installation - and it gave its approval on Wednesday.

City officials appear supportive of the project so far, Gillotti said. She expects to finish her department’s review of the plan by the end of the week, she added.

While the Greffs have been out of the country during this stage of the planning process, they said officials and their staff have been tackling loose ends.

“We’re really excited about our project and feel confident that we will be able to work with (the city) to figure out how to make it all happen,” Greff said.

If plans are approved by the city, construction could start when the couple returns in April, she added. Original estimates for the project cost were about $300,000.

Paula Gardner is Business News Director of Contact her at 734-623-2586 or by email. Sign up for the weekly Business Review newsletter, distributed every Thursday, here.


David Paris

Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

I must be missing something. My wife and I walked in to Corner Brewer a couple years ago for the first time and stood there waiting to be acknowledged/seated for too long, haven't been back since. We've been to ABC once, or twice, but have never felt comfortable with the service. On the other hand, Grizzly Peak, Blue Tractor, Connor O'Neils are three great places to belly up to the bar, among others. I'm glad you folks enjoy CB, but we're happy with the many other fine establishments around our two town, no sense in wasting time trying to convince myself that CB is worthwhile.


Fri, Mar 18, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

Well, that'd be because CB doesn't have wait staff. You seat yourself and if you want food/beer, you go up to the bar and order it. There are signs up noting this.


Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 11:41 a.m.

Yay for Beer! Corner brewery & ABC are the best brewpubs in the county! Love the staff! Love what Matt & Renee have created & LOVE their beer. Their success can only help the success of both A2 & Ypsi. The community is behind them on this. Great News!

David Bardallis

Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 5:02 a.m.

@alterego That's largely out of their hands, owing to the state's antiquated. mandated three-tier distribution system, not to mention all the taxes.


Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

Hopefully expanded production will help them drop the prices of their six packs by a couple of bucks?

sun runner

Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

I love the Corner! I was there after work on Monday with a certain earlier commenter on this post. Ypsi Gypsi, Ryeclops, and Serpentinius (I think that's what it was called) were a great way to put an end to a Monday.


Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 1:52 a.m.

Ryeclops rocks, two ten ouncers and badda boom badda bing. 20 proof beer that tastes a bit like rye bread is simply the best !


Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

Craft beer, sigh, it makes tying the shoes that much harder. I wish one of the local breweries would come up with something that could go toe to toe with MGD 64s, Michelob Ultras and Bud Select 55s of the world for when I am trying to do the right thing.


Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.

There is, if you hadn't noticed. There is Big Ben & Huxell Best Bitter, both are excellent beers and what would be known as 'session beers', light on the alcohol. (huxell is 3.9% alc.) So, stop by, ask for a sample, they'll be more than happy to provide you with one. Then ENJOY! (and loafers eliminate the tying of the shoelaces, if that's the difficulty.)

Paula Gardner

Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 8:42 p.m.

Thanks for catching the error - correction made.


Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

"We're really exciting about our project and feel confident that we will be able to work with (the city) to figure out how to make it all happen," Greff said. ....really exciting..were those the exact words Ms. Greff used? Quotation marks aside...waddayathink?


Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

I approve!


Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

The Corner Brewery is GREAT. I love the atmosphere, the waitstaff and the beer. The beergarden is wonderful and unique in this area, I believe. Best of luck to these guys.

Rob Pollard

Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 6:40 p.m.

Wow, an international franchise in India? Good for them, but I hope they don't spread themselves too thin. In any case, best of luck to them with their business(es). I hope their Ypsi expansion works for them and the city.

Top Cat

Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

Craft brewing is a success story for Michigan that does not get enough coverage. Michigan is now 5th in the nation in the number of craft breweries. No doubt that getting through these troubled times will require more Sacred Cow IPA.

Hot Sam

Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 8:17 p.m.

Not only that TC, but we are in the top five in awards!!!


Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

Let them expand, they make more beer which puts more people to work which generates more tax revenue and keeps people happy with beer and an a job. Yea for Capitalism!


Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

I love Corner Brewery beer, "The Jackhammer" is my favorite. Good Day


Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

I stopped in to ABC last week and the bartender pushed a sample of jackhammer my way as I was reading the menu. I asked, 'what's this?' he said, 'jackhammer'. I said, 'you were reading my mind again.' It's named in recognition of the time they were rebuilding the parking structure across the street on washington st. and the vibrations of the jackhammers were all you could hear and feel at ABC. A very excellent IPA!


Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

Thanks Patti, I agree. My wife had to drive home that night at CB after I had a few Jackhammers. I did buy a six pack to go and those are sadly now all gone :-). The picture is my Jack Russell "Woody" . Full name is Elwood Jackson Russell !!

Patti Smith

Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 7:42 p.m.

Yes, the Jackhammer has, on more than one occasion, "jackhammered" my ability to walk straight :) Love your user pic btw!!

Ben Connor Barrie

Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.



Wed, Mar 9, 2011 : 5:42 p.m.

I'm anxious for this to get underway. What ever can help make CB (and it's owners) more successful, the better for the area and beer drinkers alike.