The Great Lakes aren’t Michigan’s only claim to fame. Michigan is also a state known for its delicious and sophisticated craft beers; a place where the independent brewer won’t be overshadowed by kingpins but instead stand out amongst the multitude. Products of a beer-loving state, Michigan brews often develop a cult-like following of beer aficionados from every walk of life and the same can be said for Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales of Dexter, Michigan.
The Jolly Pumpkin brewery was started in 2004 by owner, Ron Jeffries. And the name certainly fits Ron’s personality. A fan of the slower kind of lifestyle, Ron is fully dedicated to enjoying life and brewing quality ales on what he calls “Hawaiian time”. Embracing this laid back attitude, Ron and his wife sat on their patio one evening drinking a few beers while trying to decide what to call their new brewery. According to the couple, Jolly Pumpkin was the name that kept bringing smiles to their faces, so they tacked on Artisan Ales at the end and thus began the line of delicious local craft ales that is loved by so many today. The brewery has seen so much success that they were able to open a restaurant and bar on Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor that has become one of the city’s most popular spots.
Ron, aka Captain Spooky, is passionate about brewing quality rustic country style beer and “was the first to do sour beers (openly fermented beer) in Michigan” says Maggie Long, general manager of The Jolly Pumpkin in Ann Arbor. Ron pioneered this brewing technique in the Great Lake State, which is now becoming much more mainstream among Michigan brewers. The Dexter brewery produces several different kinds of beer from pale ales to stouts, most of which are available at the restaurant in Ann Arbor. To add to the trendsetting nature of the Jolly Pumpkin brand, they have had a gluten free beer, the Bella Pago IPA, available since day one.
Ron Jeffries has indeed achieved his dream of owning (and running) a successful brewery that stands out from all the rest. Not only are the Pumpkin’s beers available throughout the state of Michigan, they are sold on a national level as well. Ron believes in “slow grow” company success, but no matter the pace, success is what he is getting. The brewery, which will remain in Dexter, is currently looking for a larger facility and is in the process of securing a location in Royal Oak for a second restaurant.
Sounds like living on “Hawaiian Time” is working out pretty well, especially with a Jolly Pumpkin brew in hand.
For more information on Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales visit www.jollypumpkin.com.