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Posted on Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 11:39 a.m.

Not your father's Fraser's: Old-school Ann Arbor pub boosts sales with craft beer

By David Bardallis


Longtime Fraser's food and beverage manager Timmy Donahue recently discovered the joy of craft beer — and massively increased sales.

David Bardallis | Contributor


There's a saying about how none are so zealous in the faith as the recently converted.

Timothy "Timmy" Donahue has been the food and beverage manager at Ann Arbor mainstay (est. 1962) Fraser's Pub for, well, a long time.

Only within the past year or so has he discovered the joy of craft beer, but as a result of his discovery, Fraser's has been transformed from just another neighborhood sports bar into a place where a bloke can find some seriously good brew.

And Timmy means business: Sales are way up, he's doubled the number of taps to 16, and he has plans to add a few more, as well as a cask system for serving hand-pulled beer. And on June 22, Fraser's will host Mad Hatter Day, an event featuring craft beers and spirits from New Holland Brewing.

Back in March, your correspondent had a chance to sit down with Timmy (over a beer, naturally) and talk about Fraser's new status as a bona fide East Side beer destination.

So let's talk about your and Fraser's odyssey with craft beer.

This is how it got started. I went downtown with some distributors and they took me around and I came back to work one day and I just said exactly this: "We're missing the boat." We are not programmed for what's going on in our town. Period. We're so far off the page and we need to collect these beers and give these beers a chance to grow in our bar. We need to have these, we need to try them, because they're working everyplace else, they're gonna work here.

Read the full interview at >>



Thu, Jun 2, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

While there, sampling better beers, check out Ann Arbor Pub Pizza, a separate business operating off Frazer's main room. They do a great job crafting a pizza, a step up from the usual fare.

David Bardallis

Thu, Jun 2, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

Peggy, you can find Dragon's Milk at pretty much any major beer store in the area. As of a day or two ago, according to a field report (thanks, Cindy!), it was actually on tap at Whole Foods Cranbrook!

Peggy Lampman

Sun, Jun 5, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

Great! Thanks. We found it at Hiller's. Peggy

Patti Smith

Thu, Jun 2, 2011 : 2:40 a.m.

Nice! Jeff and I can walk there from our house and we were thrilled to find the awesome craft beer selection that was available. We have gone back several times and brought friends...kudos to Frasers!!!!!!

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

I can't wait to check out Fraser's new brews. I see you mentioned New Holland Brews. Have you tried Dragon's Milk? If so, is there a place to get a bottle in our area? Recently had it in Grand Rapids and Petoskey area. Thanks! Peggy

Patti Smith

Thu, Jun 2, 2011 : 2:42 a.m.

Peggy, I can't say for sure, but I would check the Super Liquor IV on State Street. The liquor store near the Jackson/Stadium/Maple interchange also is a good location (I'm sorry, I forget the name). I've also had good luck at Morgan and York. It's a good beer--happy searching!