Local Distillery Ellison Brewing Co. is a hidden gem in the East Lansing community
Living in East Lansing, the surrounding community offers several distilleries to MSU students and individuals in the community alike. Though the town offers a wide variety, the key is finding the location that best perfects the craft. Located on 4903 Dawn Ave., Ellison Brewing and Spirits is that spot.
The brewery's big debut was on August 2015, opened by co-owner and President of Sales and Marketing Eric Elliott, the business has thrived. Attributed to his passion and love for the craft of beer, Elliott has made a household name for himself. Within a mile from MSU’s campus, a little off the beaten path, Ellison Brewery & Spirits is a brewery best described as a “hidden gem” in the East Lansing distillery industry.
Elliott, an experienced entrepreneur, has been in the alcohol industry for the past ten years. He has a long history in the Michigan beer community, marketing and distributing beer and liquor all over the state. Elliott's industry expertise, along with an open opportunity, helped fuel the passion to open his own micro-brewery.
Originally from DeWitt, Elliott moved to metro-Detroit with two of his friends from high school. There they brewed up the idea to open a microbrewery and distillery, while drinking craft beers at a holiday party. The early conversation morphed into Ellison Brewery & Spirits.
"My first experience with craft beer and alcohol was down there. I started working for a wholesaler distributing liquor and so, I just kind of got my feet wet with this other side of the world that I was not used to," said Elliott. "It became really apparent that where we are from, the Lansing area, was a complete ghost town of crafted spirits, crafted beer, anything that was made here was brought in from all these distributors from other parts of the state or country."
Ellison Brewery & Spirits would not be where it is today without the help of its dedicated staff. Oscar Pena is a brewer and lead cellar-man for Ellison Brewery & Spirits. Having no previous experience, Pena had to use his wit to quickly work up the ranks to the position in the ten month time-span that he is serving now.
“I just came in, asked for a job, and managed to land one," Pena said. "I had a lot of luck starting as a part-time bartender. ... As the head cellar-man, I like to make the joke that I am the head 'squeegee artist' or 'liquid wrangler' because most of my job has to do with me keeping the floors clear of water. As you can tell, it is a full production facility. ... Essentially, what I'm to do is a lot of cleaning.”
Jacob Schoop is employed as a part-time brewer and assistant cellar-man at Ellison Brewery & Spirits. When asked about what sets Ellison’s particular brew apart from the competition, Schoop believes they produce a very high-quality product.
“The beer is very solid. We strive to maintain consistency throughout the beers, so each time we have it, it is the same.” Schoop said.
Ellison Brewery & Spirits advertises reach out to the community through word-of-mouth and use of social media. In addition, they offer patrons membership to the “Mug Club.” This membership gets patrons offers on their IPA product and house-made spirits.
Customers can be updated through Ellison Brewery & Spirits on their social media outlets. For more information, contact Ellison Brewery & Spirits by phone at (517)-203-5498.