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Posted on Wed, May 30, 2012 : 8:03 a.m.

Jolly Pumpkin gets Dexter's OK for 3 liquor licenses at proposed new facility

By Lisa Allmendinger

The Jolly Pumpkin will be able to seek new beer, wine and small distillery licenses from Michigan, making way for the company to redevelop the former Martinrea/Pilot building in the industrial park on Bishop Circle.

The Dexter Village Council on Tuesday unanimously granted that request by Northern United Brewing Company LLC. Village Council approval is needed before the company can apply to the state for the licenses.

p13 jolly pumpkin.jpg

Ron Jeffries started the Jolly Pumpkin in Dexter and hopes to soon expand there.

A tasting room, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., is part of the company’s plan for part of the 68,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, which will be located in the village’s business park at 2319 Bishop Circle.

The company has a purchase agreement for the property and the closing is still pending, Courtney Nicholls, assistant village manager, said in a May 3 memo to the Village Council.

Before the vote Tuesday night, Council Member Paul Cousins reiterated his concerns about the hours that the tasting room will be allowed to be open.

“I don’t want them to have restrictions when I know there are four other liquor licenses in the village with no restrictions,” he said, while acknowledging that because this facility is located in the business park, there are other zoning considerations that need to be approved by the Planning Commission.

Zoning approval is necessary because the company is located in a research and development district, which does not currently have provisions for a tasting room.

“The applicant has requested that the village proceed with the liquor license approval due to the time that it takes (with the state) to complete the process,” Allison Bishop, community development manager, told the Village Council earlier this month.

But Cousins wanted to make sure that if a special event were to be planned there that the company would be able to extend the hours of its tasting room.

“If they let us know that they need it for a special event to stay open longer, I’ll approve it,” said Council President Shawn Keough.

“So, they can write us a letter about it and we’ll approve it?” Council Member Joe Semifero asked.

Keough said that the village has had no problems with its current liquor licenses and he'd be willing to work with the company if they made a request for extended hours for a special event. The company has three locations - in Dexter, Traverse City and Ann Arbor - and plans to use the new Dexter location as its beer, spirit and wine manufacturing plant. It also would relocate its headquarters from Ann Arbor to Dexter.

There are no plans for food sales or outdoor seating at the Dexter site.

The Planning Commission is expected to discuss the company's plans at its meeting on June 4.

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at For more Dexter stories, visit our Dexter page.



Thu, May 31, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

Now if they would hire a good cook things would be great - cuz they do not have one now!


Wed, May 30, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

Great news! I can't wait for the inaugural Corner Brewery to Jolly Pumpkin Brewery bike ride.

Will Warner

Wed, May 30, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

Can somebody explain "liquor licenses' to me? What purpose do they serve, other than to keep the whip hand over people in the restaurant business? Seems like an antiquated system that gives too much power to regulators (i.e., control freaks).

David Bardallis

Thu, May 31, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

It sounds like you've already grasped exactly what they are.


Wed, May 30, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

Thanks Ann Arbor City Council for this! "It also would relocate its headquarters from Ann Arbor to Dexter." Is Dexter a better place for their business than Ann Arbor? No, but it sounds like Dexter is happy to have them there. Ann Arbor on the other hand, is such a hassle!


Thu, May 31, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

Actually DEXTER is a BETTER place than Ann Arbor to locate a business. You need to visit our Village sometime and you will be able to see why.


Wed, May 30, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

It was my understanding that their headquarters already IS in Dexter, and they will just be moving to a larger facility that would allow them to expand their barrel program.

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, May 30, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

What will happen to the plan to open a place across from Encore Theatre, now that the WISD is moving from its spot in that building?