There is no doubt that the past year has been highly progressive for Short’s Brewing Company. In November, Short’s entered the burgeoning world of Northern Michigan cider by launching a new branch of the company called Starcut Ciders. Next to the pub in Bellaire, Short’s opened a brewtique, Short’s Mart—where you can buy everything from trendy flannels to barware to Aaron Draplin’s Field Notes. Short’s expanded the brewery to include more seating and a new state-of-the-art kitchen. They also went the extra mile by adding a wastewater pre-treatment facility to the plant in Elk Rapids.

So, what’s next? Well…to put it simply, it’s time to party!

Rachel Payne, Short's Brewing Company

Rachel Payne, Short’s Brewing Co. Liberator. Photo by Beth Price Photography.

On August 8th, from 5 to 11 pm, hundreds will gather to celebrate the 6th Annual Short’s Fest at the Production Facility in Elk Rapids—coinciding with the 60 year old celebration of Harbor Days. Celebrate Northern Michigan beer with twenty craft beers on tap including seasonal favorites and sought-after classics like Strawberry Short’s Cake, Hopstache, and Cerveza de Julie. Five Starcut Ciders will be served up as well as a hearty helping of local food and the music lineup is brilliant! If you walk away with more than an awesome experience, let it be “Michigan Only, Michigan Forever.”

To get the inside scoop on all the fun details, we checked in with Short’s Festival and Events guru Kendal Fifield.


Dani: Can festival-goers experience the Production Facility at Short’s Fest? Will you be hosting brew tours?

Kendal: We will be offering tours of the production facility again this year during the festival. Tours of the Production Facility will be $5 or 1 Short’s token. Short’s Fest is held at our Production Facility in Elk Rapids because it coincides with the Harbor Days Festival in town. This is a great way for us to be able to share our top notch facility that people rarely get to see in Elk Rapids. We love what we do, love where we live, and love celebrating summer with the people we work and live with—that’s what Short’s Fest is all about.

Dani: Northern Michigan’s music scene is abuzz with so many outstanding local musicians. This year you’re bringing a Cadillac native back North up from New Orleans. Luke Winslow King is some serious talent! His eclectic mix of blues, jazz, delta-folk and ragtime is incandescent. It’s no surprise that he studied at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Who else is going to knock our socks off at this year’s fest? Should we bring dancing shoes?

Short's Fest

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers. Photo by Beth Price Photography

Kendal: We are so excited to have Luke Winslow King at Short’s Fest, and yes, you should definitely bring your dancing shoes! Also performing at Short’s Fest we have Joe Hurtler & The Rainbow Seekers, another great and groovy band that we are very excited to have [from Lansing]! And last, but certainly not least, opening up Short’s Fest we have our great friends, The Moxie Strings—yet another Michigan band.

We’re really going for the Michigan only, Michigan forever vibe! We love being able to support local musicians.

Dani: Back in January, Short’s reported 51% production growth. That’s an incredible increase for a “Michigan only, Michigan forever” company. The pub has also seen a significant expansion including more seating and a full kitchen. Are you seeing a growth in the events department, too?

Kendal: As a department, we have definitely seen growth over the last year. A little over a year ago our Festival & Events team was only one person and has now grown to four full-time employees who work year round planning Short’s events including the Anniversary Party in late April and Short’s Fest in early August. We also attend many other festivals and events throughout the year ranging anywhere from Guild beer festivals to fat bike races. We love being able to share our love for Short’s with fans statewide, and also be able to educate those who may not be as familiar with what we do. We are currently right in the middle of our busy season of events and have at least one, sometimes two or three, events per week up until Halloween!

Short's Fest

Production Facility Tour. Photo by Beth Price Photography

Dani: Are there any awesome new Short’s events that we need to add to our 2015 bucket list?

Kendal: A big event coming up this fall, that Short’s is really proud to support, is Paddle Antrim Festival. Paddle Antrim is a charitable organization for the primary purposes of supporting efforts to maintain water quality of the rivers, lakes, and streams in Antrim County. We are so happy to be able to help support this great event as it goes hand in hand with our company ideals. Paddle Antrim is a 2-day event, September 18th and 19th. It takes paddlers from Ellsworth to Bellaire on Day 1 and Bellaire to Elk Rapids on Day 2.

Find out more about Short’s Fest 2015 and purchase tickets here. Cheers!