COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Useless Creatures Brewing Company, a new brewery in Three Rivers that’s expected to open in June, were the recipient of a $25,000 Match on Main grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which will help them upgrade bar equipment and brewing equipment before they officially open.

DDA receives Match on Main grant for upcoming brewery

THREE RIVERS — The Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority received a state grant to help a new brewery get ready to open for business.

On Monday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office announced that 19 communities around the state, including Three Rivers, were awarded a Match on Main Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Three Rivers DDA was awarded $25,000, which will help the upcoming brewery Useless Creatures Brewing Company complete needed upgrades so they can open their doors.

“Michigan’s unique downtowns are the heart of our communities, and with today’s Match on Main grants, we are helping small businesses in both peninsulas by investing in bustling commercial districts for people to visit, shop, and dine in, attracting more talent and new investments,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement Monday. “These grants will help our cities and towns continue to grow and thrive, building on our ongoing economic momentum. Currently, Michigan’s unemployment rate is 4.4 percent and we have experienced 11 straight months of job growth, adding 174,000 jobs year over year in March. We will keep our foot on the gas to grow our economy, create more jobs, and invest in small businesses.”

Match on Main grants may be used by businesses for eligible expenses that support technical assistance, interior building renovations, permanent or semi-permanent activation of an outdoor space, permanent or semi-permanent business infrastructure related to COVID-19 recovery efforts, and other working capital needs such as marketing needs and inventory expenses. Additional needs identified by the business and supported by the local community are also considered.

For Useless Creatures, co-owner Evan Monroe said they would use the money to upgrade a couple of things with their brewing and bar setup.

“We applied specifically for updating the draft system here. It’s currently five taps, and we’re going to take that up to 10 or 12,” Monroe said. “The second part is two bright beer tanks. The fermentation space here is kind of our main bottleneck, there’s only two here, so having that additional tank space will allow us to offer more styles of beer and have more time to let things age properly and do some cool infusions.”

Monroe said the upgrades, paid for with the grant money, will help them in the long-run once they open their doors.

“It’s going to help with our long-term plans and hopefully contribute to long-term success here,” Monroe said. “It’s one of the perks of living in a historic Main Street area, we have access to these things here. I don’t know why we wouldn’t have taken advantage of this opportunity.”

The brewery, which will be located in the former Kelsey Block Brewing Company space at 41 N. Main St. in Three Rivers, got their brewing license approved by the state last week after a 10-month process, as well as completed the transfer of the liquor license from Kelsey Block. Monroe said he estimates the brewery will be open sometime in June.

“We have the small brewery license, small winemakers license, and we’re currently trying to come up with our food menu,” Monroe said. “It’ll be a restaurant, brewery and winery. We’re hoping for mid-June; we need to start dealing with the health department, and that’s our next regulatory hurdle.”

Overall, Monroe said he was glad to receive the grant from the state, and is looking forward to seeing where the brewery goes in the future.

“I’m looking forward to opening this space up for the community. There’s a lot of excitement to get the brewery back up and going,” Monroe said. “It’s a great spot for people to come together and have a good time together. We’re looking forward to better serving the community.”

Three Rivers DDA Executive Director Tricia Meyer said she was excited for the brewery to receive the competitive grant, which is the second Match on Main grant the city has received in four tries since the program was first launched in 2019.

“We are thrilled as a Master Level Community since 2014 to be recognized for our resiliency and for our local businesses that strive to further enhance our authentic and unique Downtown,” Meyer said.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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