Today we received an update from Rick Schmitt, co-owner of The Garden Theater and Stormcloud Brewing Company. A Colorado native, Rick spent 15 years at Crystal Mountain, where Chris MacInnes was his mentor.
In 2007, Frankfort's old Garden Theater--originally opened in 1924--became available for purchase.  In 2009, Rick and wife Jennie along with business partners Blake and Marci Brooks purchased the theater and began a decade-long restoration of the place. It has now become a community center, although the 100-year-old building is badly in need of a new roof, among other things. The solution was to form a new non-profit and conduct a $2million fundraising campaign. The campaign already has raised $1.3million.
In 2013, Rick left Crystal Mountain as Vice President of Sales to open Stormcloud Brewing Company with business partner Brian Confer.  Shortly before the grand opening Rick appeared at Sunrise Rotary with a PowerPoint presentation that included projected sales that to some appeared optimistic. But as it turned out, Stormcloud far exceeded those expectations, becoming a tremendous success story.
Stormcloud is a "Belgian-inspired" brewery producing 3,000 barrels a year and employing over 75 people.  From 2013-2017 Stormcloud won medals for its beer and was named the #1 new brewery in Michigan.  The pub adjacent to the Garden Theater continues to draw not only locals, but people from throughout the state and beyond.  But the pub had space and brewing limitations. This led to the building of a 12,000 square feet 20-barrel brewhouse in the industrial park at the east end of town. This facility has a 38-can per minute canning line and serves as a distribution center for sales to stores and restaurants. It also has a tasting room and outdoor beer garden.  The tap room is powered by an array of solar panels.
We are fortunate indeed to have The Garden Theater and Stormcloud Brewing Company in our midst.