From the Keweenaw Co-op to the Detroit People’s Food Co-op, Michigan is home to many cooperatively owned grocery stores (shoutout to Marquette Food Co-op on celebrating 50 years!)Marquette is now also home to its first cooperatively owned craft brewery, Drifa Brewing Company.
Opened in the fall of 2019, Drifa Brewing Company is one of about a dozen cooperatively owned breweries in the country. This model, much like the food co-ops around the state, puts the ownership in the hands of the members. The idea to open this space arose back in 2015 and was championed by the Marquette Brewers Cooperative, Inc. This grassroots effort of of homebrewers and craft beer lovers in the Marquette area collaborated to create a cooperatively-owned microbrewery and taproom in order to meet the needs of its members and owners. As a cooperative, they are community-owned so you know your money will stay local.
Nestled in south Marquette, Drifa is open to the public, and both members and non-members are welcome to come in and enjoy their rotating selection of craft beers. Members enjoy benefits like a mug discount, special events for members only, and an opportunity to collaborate with the head brewer on your own recipe! Their outdoor space occasionally hosts pop-ups with local farms and artists, live music, and food trucks. In true yooper fashion, a sense of community continues in their activity board, where volunteers lead activities, such as group bike rides along the lake shore, yoga, and trail runs.
Collaborative Beer Releases
The most exciting new rollout is the recent release of owner-brewed beers! The first collaboration released was “Taiheke Warrior,” a light-bodied Mmerican pale ale featuring New Zealand hop, Taiheke, which lends tropical fruit aromas and flavors. The Warrior hops add a subtle bitterness and dry finish. The recipe was written and brewed in collaboration with Drifa staff brewery manager, Heather Ludwig. In April, they released “Don’t Worry, Be Sappy”, an American Brown ale paired with locally produced maple sap. It was a collaboration with Co-op board member Todd Beckwith and Drifa’s brewer, Matt Burling.
“It’s so exciting to finally be releasing our collaboration beers. This moment has been talked about for a long time,” Ludwig explains.
You can expect to see great ales released all summer, alongside returning favorites and new creations from the Drifa team. The most recently released item was the collaboration brew “Standing Room,” a hazy IPA, which is now available in the taproom while it lasts!
With so many great breweries to choose from in the area, Drifa is making a splash in the community, while adding a whole new dimension of culture to Maquette’s beer community. You can learn more about becoming a member of Drifa by visiting marquettebrewing.com/membership.
Alex Palzewicz is the Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference. Currently her favorite brew in the Drifa taproom is “Stupid Man Suit”, a light bodied, dry-hopped, cream ale.