by Jennifer Deamud • photography submitted by Patti Eisenbraun
The thriving craft brewing industry has been enjoyed by Michiganders and visitors for many years. Numerous entrepreneurs who have a passion for Michigan, community and beer continue to join this ever-growing industry in Michigan.
Patti Eisenbraun is one such entrepreneur. At the age of 35 she knew her life could have more purpose and meaning by doing something she loved instead of doing something just for money.
“I postponed a successful career to stay home with our children, which provided me the opportunity to plan. I knew this would be at least a ten year journey to save, research and prepare to open a brewery and restaurant,” commented Eisenbraun, owner of Brown Iron Brewhouse.
“The craft beer industry is such a creative and dynamic industry. We chose to showcase all American brewed beer on our taps,”
Eisenbraun’s desire to engage with the community, her entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for the craft beer industry is what made Brown Iron Brewhouse a success. Brown Iron Brewhouse, located at 57695 Van Dyke in Washington Township (Macomb County), is a full service smokehouse restaurant, which features seventy taps of all American brewed beer.
“The craft beer industry is such a creative and dynamic industry. We chose to showcase all American brewed beer on our taps,” Eisenbraun said. “Beer has such a range of flavor profiles. I find it fun and challenging when I can get a non-beer drinker to love, or at least like, a beer or to get a seasoned beer fan a rare or new beer they have never had before.”
Eisenbraun is excited about all of the choices out there and she enjoys sharing that enthusiasm with her customers.
“It’s my job to educate and create new beer enthusiasts. I love customer interaction and talking to people. Our motto is ‘Discover Beer Here!’ Connecting with the customers is what I love,” Eisenbraun said.
Eisenbraun and her husband, Tim Eisenbraun, not only desired a place to share their love for beer with the community, but they also wanted to have a place where people could come learn about the craft beer industry. Tim Eisenbraun has been a brewer for over twenty years and shares his wife’s passion.
The plan for Brown Iron Brewhouse was to set up in three phases: building construction, outdoor beer garden and the brewing process. They are currently amidst starting the brewery operations.
“This summer we will have our brews on a few of our 70 taps,” Eisenbraun said. “This is an exciting time since my husband and I have been brewing since 1994. The brewery operation will add a unique element to our already bustling business, which will set us apart from other brewery or restaurant operations.”
Water is the main ingredient for beer, and Michigan has an abundant amount of fresh water to start the brewing process. Michigan also has rich soils that allow for locally-grown barley, hops, beet sugar and other added flavors to beer, such as apples, cherries and other fruits.
“Michigan has great breweries I believe because we are right here where the sources are for making great beer. We have the best water in the world, Michigan is now becoming a major grower of hops and our farmers produce excellent crops,” Eisenbraun noted.
“A positive attitude is a must for any business owner.”
To start or operate a business takes a significant amount of planning in the areas of market research, operations, finances, raising capital and many other licensing/regulations planning. Patti identifies with the concept of: plan, plan, plan.
“No matter how much research and planning you do, there are things that come up that are little hiccups in the road and others that are huge blows to your morale and budget. Stick to your vision and it will all work out. A positive attitude is a must for any business owner.”
A positive attitude and passion for the brewing industry has worked out for many Michigan entrepreneurs! Michigan’s rich beer industry has been enjoyed by Michiganders, visitors and vacationers. In fact, the beer industry attracts vacationers to Michigan for a fresh glass of brew on a regular basis.
“These breweries provide a place to travel to and in many cases provide a boost to the local economy. With so much competition out there, it has raised the bar for higher quality beers to come from both large and small breweries. This only makes our industry better in the long run,” Eisenbraun said.
Entrepreneurship was a new concept for the Eisenbrauns. It took a passion and commitment to turn a dream into a successful business. Patti has great advice for women who may or may not be considering buying or starting a business.
“I think our lives go in stages, and each stage of life has a great purpose. Don’t feel like you have to stay in one stage. Ask yourself, ‘What do I love?’ It may seem silly to some or may seem scary to make that leap, but live your dream. Plan. Take calculated risks. Stay positive. Have a cheerleader to help you when you are frustrated. It may take several tries, but find what you love. You are never too old to take chances and you don’t have to wait until retirement age to finally do what you love. Women make great leaders.”
The next time you are in Macomb County, stop by Brown Iron Brewhouse. If it happens to be on a Monday, ask about Rare Release Mondays. Take a moment to ask for Patti; if she’s there, she would love to share with you her passion of beer!
Take a look at Brown Iron Brewhouse’s food menu and beer list at BrownIron.com, where you can discover more information and brewhouse events.