- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2016

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - With inspiration from Saginaw’s rich logging history and a background in home brewing, Chris Andrews, his sister and their nephew set out to open the only microbrewery in Saginaw.

“Can you think of a better place to put a brewery in a town where there’s 50,000 people and no brewery? Andrews said.

Loggers Brewing Co., located in James Township, will open - hopefully - by August, Andrews said. Andrews, his sister, Cynthia Andrews, and their nephew, Chad Andrews, are working on turning a former church into a place where residents can relax, have a craft beer or wine and socialize, while recognizing Saginaw’s logging history.

Andrews, who grew up in Saginaw, recognized there wasn’t a brewery in the area - his biggest reason for now owning one, The Saginaw News (https://bit.ly/24Psg6X ) reported.

“If you want good beer, you have to go out of town,” he said.



At a family party a few years ago, he and the other owners talked about that, and decided they needed to bring something new to the area.

Brewing isn’t new to Andrews - he’s been making beer and wine at home for the past 25 years. Though he wasn’t a beer drinker before, he is now.

He prefers stouts, but Andrews wants to be known for making great beer in general. There are currently six test batches ready to be made and sold. Amongst those, there’s a stout, an IPA, a wheat beer and a cherry lemon shandy on tap.

Loggers Brewing will feature several mainstays, as well as some seasonal flavors. Coming up with new flavors involves some causal brainstorming, Andrews said.

“We just sit and talk - drink beers and sit and talk and let our imaginations go,” he said. “That’s what you gotta do.”

As their beers have unique flavors, the brewery itself has some quirk of its own. Being that it was previously a church, some of the pews have been repurposed into shelves that hang behind the bar, which is made from a natural looking slab of wood. A lumber wagon from the 1860s will be refurbished and fixed outside the brewery.

Inside is a log cabin vibe, with carved wood furniture and a mural of Michigan loggers in a forest toward the back of the brewery. The logging theme is a nod to Saginaw’s history in the logging industry.

When the U.S. began expanding westward, demand for lumber increased. At that time, Michigan had an abundant population of hardwood and white pine trees. Using the Saginaw River as convenient transportation of lumber, Saginaw became a hub for the logging industry.

“The Saginaw valley had the toughest lumbermen in the state,” Cynthia Andrews said. “They were call the ‘Valley Boys,’ and they could kick anybody’s butt in drinking or chopping wood or hauling trees, whatever. It’s got a rich history.”

Keeping with the outdoorsy theme, the Andrews family is trying to keep the brewery as environmentally-friendly as possible. Most of their materials have been repurposed or brought in from local sources. They are also on the hunt for fruit farmers for wine making supplies.

The family is also looking for employees who work hard and are knowledgeable about micro brewing. Those interested in applying can stop in the brewery, but the Andrews say they won’t need a large staff.

Wanting to provide a cozy atmosphere where patrons can socialize, the owners are confident community will keep coming back once Loggers opens.

“It’s the first (brewery) in Saginaw and it represents the history of Saginaw,” Cynthia Andrews said. “We’re home grown. People will like our beer, and they’ll come back.”

___

Information from: The Saginaw News, https://www.mlive.com/saginaw

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