Located in a secluded “beer oasis” on M22 in Suttons Bay, Michigan, this microbrewery and beer garden is the perfect place to embrace the local beer culture, while taking in the breathtaking outdoors. Hop Lot Brewing Co.’s beer garden was designed to resemble a German-style Biergarten with a touch of Northern Michigan. Despite the name, Hop Lot brews more than just “hoppy” beers; there’s something here for every taste bud! Co-Owner, Drew Lutke, shares what makes this brewery a one-of-a-kind Up North experience.
How did you start Hop Lot Brewing Co.?
My brother Steve and I are originally from Holland, MI. Steve’s wife is from Suttons Bay, which was a leading factor in moving here. Being from Holland, this was always “Up North” to us. When we decided that we wanted to open a brewery, we said it had to be something unique and appealing to us as if we were potential customers. The building had to fit our vision of “Up North”. Steve, Steve’s Father-in-law (Pete Leabo), and I, built the taproom together in roughly eleven months. The beer garden had to be the focal point and encompass that vision too. We also wanted our bartenders have to be educated in craft beer and it’s culture.
What do you feel makes Hop Lot stand out from other MI breweries?
A lot of time and effort was put in to delivering a “German-style Biergarten” with an Up North Twist. Our 3/4 acre beer garden features rows of communal tables showcasing a centralized fire pit which has become a focal point for many of our guests.
In addition, our brewery is kid friendly! With plenty of lawn games and space to unwind, we have truly become a family destination. Surrounding the beer garden, we have a hopgarden featuring 250 cascade hops which we encourage our guests to walk through. We intended that our taproom and beer garden encompassed a true “Up North” feel. Including s’more kits!
What is your favorite part about working at Hop Lot?
We are in a beautiful area of the country. This brings tourists from all over. I enjoy seeing new faces everyday, listening to their travels and sharing our story with them.
What is your favorite event to host at Hop Lot?
Any summer night live music or movie in the beer garden. Our stage is set up in the middle of the beer garden, showcasing the musicians. We tend to fill the entire beer garden most nights. What is even more impressive; the musicians really capture the attention of the audience making it engaging and interactive. As for our movies in the beer garden, we set up lawn chairs, build a campfire, and project cult classics on our 12′ outdoor screen.
What special considerations go into planning your events?
Timing is everything! Time of day, time of year, weather, etc. With events, we want to focus on creating enhanced value to our guest’s overall visit. Any event we have, must focus on the “WOW factor”.
How do you engage and interact with the surrounding community?
We have hosted a number of events that have benefited our local public schools and families. Although we do very little advertising, we reach out through social media and our website. However, we are excited to be included in this summer’s Pure Michigan commercial that will air nationally.