Attorney quits law, opens brewery in Marysville

MARYSVILLE, Mich. – The craft beer business is booming in Michigan and another brewery is set to open its doors in August: the Harsens Island Brewery.

After 15 years as an attorney, Brian Phinney, of Rochester, quit his day job to follow his passion and become a brewery owner.

"I brewed beer for a long time, but began doing it more seriously five years ago. And people would tell me how good the beer was," Phinney said.

The brewery is built on family history and is helping to create a bright future for the small town of Marysville.

"Our family history dates back to Harsens Island over 100 years," Phinney said. "My grandparents met on the Tashmoo Steamer in the 1900s and we still have a home there."

Phinney said he couldn't brew directly on Harsens Island because the septic system couldn't handle it.

"So we looked for a city that was willing, and Marysville was the spot," Phinney said.

And he wanted to pay tribute to the city with a themed beer, thus the Mighty Marysville Belgian Ale was created.

"Oh, I've tasted it, yes," said Marysville city manager Randy Fernandez. "It's a good one and for the strong at heart."

The brewery will have eight beers on tap, from easy drinkers to dark stouts. Phinney has plans to bottle and distribute several beers across the state.

The brewery, located at 808 Gratiot Blvd. took over the foreclosed Wonder Hostess Bakery. The 10,000 square foot space for truck maintenance transitioned into a the perfect brew space, where more than 600 gallons of beer can be made. 

"We have a great chef who is creating a menu for us featuring brats, sliders, high end appetizers," Phinney said. "The food will be simple but top quality."

Updates on the brewery's opening can be found on its Facebook page here.