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Posted on Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

'Beer makes everyone happy': Biercamp looks to join growing list of microbreweries in Ann Arbor

By Ryan J. Stanton

Biercamp Artisan Sausage & Jerky is hoping to offer suds with its sausage soon after the Ann Arbor City Council signed off on a micro brewer license for the establishment Monday night.

The council voted 8-0 with three members absent to grant Biercamp's request for a license allowing the small shop at 1643 S. State St. to produce up to 30,000 barrels of beer per year.

"If their beer ends up being as good as their sausage and jerky, I can't wait to try it," remarked Council Member Chuck Warpehoski, D-5th Ward.


Hannah Cheadle and Walt Hansen are co-owners of Biercamp Artisan Sausage & Jerky. They plan to start selling growlers of beer brewed onsite soon.

Janet Miller | For

"I concur," Mayor John Hieftje responded.

"It sounds like something that everyone will want to check out," added Council Member Jane Lumm, an Independent who represents the 2nd Ward.

With the city's blessing, Biercamp's request for a micro brewer license now goes to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for final approval.

If approved, Biercamp will join a growing list of microbreweries in Ann Arbor, including Wolverine State Brewing Co., Arbor Brewing Co., Blue Tractor, Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin.

Biercamp, which opened last year, plans to continue operating as a retail shop selling sausage, jerky, pickled items and more. Co-owners Walt Hansen and Hannah Cheadle plan to brew small batches of beer to pair with their artisan meats and sell in growlers for off-site consumption.

Council Member Sally Hart Petersen, D-2nd Ward, asked what a growler was Monday night. Hieftje was quick to explain that's the common name for a jug used to hold draft beer.

Cheadle said she's not sure the timeline for final approval of the license, but she hopes they'll be able to start brewing beer onsite and sell it for off-site consumption not long after the holidays.

"We want to start with an IPA, I can tell you that," she said, adding customers will be able to bring their growlers back for refills when they're empty.

"We're going to start off super small and see where it goes," she said. "We've been wanting to have this since we opened, so we've been waiting for it, and we're excited about it."

Cheadle added: "Beer makes everyone happy."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Top Cat

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 4 p.m.

A pure good news story and still there is kvetching. Some people need more beer and vegetables in their diet.

Aaron Mercer

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.


Robert Granville

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

I like beer. I agree with the Mayor and I'm excited about Biercamp being allowed to brew. I also like cannabis. I feel very strongly that microgardens and cannabis coffee shops could be more of an economic and cultural boon for the city than microbreweries could ever be. I realize that there are laws, state and federal, that prevent this. That's changing in a hurry. It really bothers me that prevailing attitudes about alcohol can be summed up by "beer makes everyone happy," when we know it kills or plays a hand in the death of hundreds of thousands yet cannabis is the substance that is relegated to the shadows and back alleys. Even if the laws fall, anti-cannabis attitudes will remain... so how do we get to a point where organically growing, curing, and manicuring cannabis is respected and appreciated the way microbrewing and wine-tasting are?


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

Great post Robert.

4 Fingers

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

Good for them! Great people with great products! Hopefully they'll have a tasting room. Any idea how many beers they'll have on tap?


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Also I wasn't able to edit my original post after I submitted it, but I wanted to also congratulate Hannah and Walt's Biercamp on getting their permit to brew their own beer. I wasn't trying to slam them with my mmj post, just pointing out the difference in how two businesses are treated by the local government. I'm sure they will make excellent brews and I will certainly stop by and buy a pint or two.

Robert Granville

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

I came here for the same reason. I love Biercamp but the first think I thought when I saw 'Beer makes everyone happy' and positive comments from the mayor I thought, "Hmmm if only a safer substance with just as must small business potential received that kind of support." If this kind of business is supported by the mayor, why not cannabis?


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

What ever happened to their expansion plans that AA originally denied? I would love to go and eat their great pork sandwiches on site


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

You can do that now, there just isn't a lot of seating.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 6:26 a.m.

Talk badly about beer and thy shall feel the wrath of a billion thumbs down! However, it is true....not everyone equates intoxication with happiness. Unbelievably there are many more things in life than spending time and resources on a liquid.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

So don't drink it then. And don't judge those of us who enjoy a nice beer now and then. Just because we enjoy beer doesn't mean we don't enjoy other things in life as well

Jeff Renner

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 2 a.m.

Congratulations on the next step, Walt and Hannah! It will be good to see that picoBrewery system behind the counter put to work.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

To Walt and Hannah: Congrats on one more hurdle down To the others who have commented thus far: Thanks for reminding me that not everyone in Ann Arbor is well educated. Now go find another hobby.

Andy Price

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

I think most of the comments have been in support of Biercamp and that this has so far been a pleasant comments section by standards.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

Great news. I agree "If their beer ends up being as good as their sausage and jerky, I can't wait to try it,"


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

But the bubbles in beer are CO2. What about our global warming resolution?


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

Are you kidding me right now?!

EMU Prof

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

Awesome. I can't wait to wash down some sriracha brats with your beer. Heaven.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Any idea if they are hiring someone to brew for them, or if they will be making the beer themselves?

Aaron Mercer

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

I would volunteer to help them brew...


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

I hear they bought a bunch of those "Mr. Beer" kits on

Jeff Renner

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 3:26 a.m.

What I meant is that it must be their product, but they certainly could hire a brewer to brew it for them on their premises.

Jeff Renner

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 1:58 a.m.

A microbrewery license allows them to sell only their own beer.

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

I'm not sure. I'll check next time I talk to them. We'll probably write another story when they actually launch and try to include that info then.

John of Saline

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

You might be surprised to learn that about a third of Americans don't drink alcohol.

Aaron Mercer

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

More craft beer for me to enjoy! Your loss.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 6:27 a.m.

I feel sorry for people who need alcohol to feel happy.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day. - Frank Sinatra :)


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 12:14 a.m.

This is absurd. Then don't buy their beer, enjoy their delicious brats and jerky.

Dog Guy

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 11:25 p.m.

That's good, John of Saline, because about a third of Americans are under 18 years old.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 10:08 p.m.

And two-thirds do. Your point? Or are you one of those Tea Party types who think your views should hold sway despite being a small minority?


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

"Council Member Sally Hart Petersen, D-2nd Ward, asked what a growler was Monday night. Hieftje was quick to explain that's the common name for a jug used to hold draft beer." OK, show of hands... who thinks our Mayor can party?


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

So apparently it's fine to sell beer on that strip, but if you want to sell medical marijuana in the same area the city tells you to "piss off to the hinterlands" Hypocrites!

Robert Granville

Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Yup... absolutely senseless. Microbrewed beer is something to celebrate as an addition to the city. Cannabis can't ever be that.... because.... Insert_Illogical_Statement_Here. In this case, Ganja Mama's was ruled to be too close to a school... but not Biercamp which is basically across the street.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

More like oranges and tangerines.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

Piss off to the hinerlands.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

Not hypocrisy. Apples and oranges.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

Really, 'Beer makes everyone happy'. Not sure that is true. Just sayin'.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.

I believe he was having fun with a Benjamin Franklin quote, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. ... " :) Of course my favorite is, ""In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria."

Dog Guy

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

How do I get my kids on the waiting list for next summer at Biercamp?


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

Forget the kids, I want to go to Biercamp!


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 12:02 a.m.

Love your comments


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

There is a bigger national battle now brewing. Monster beer v Micro beer. "... a growing list of microbreweries in Ann Arbor, " That was until Six Can, the High Plains Lobbiest road into town from Colorado.


Wed, Dec 19, 2012 : 11:15 a.m.

"Craft Brewers Threatened by Big Beer Brands" [Bloomberg Businessweek]