Success stories

Blackrocks Brewery

Marquette, Michigan

Blackrocks Brewery employs 12 enthusiastic and passionate locals in their expanded tap room and “pop shop” canning facility. The Vibe on 424 N. Third Street is positively laid back, with jamming live music, eight taps of variable craft brews and happy customers!

In 2010, the downturn in the economy resulted in the elimination of Andy Langlois’ position as a pharmaceutical sales rep. He and good friend, David Manson, turned lemons into lemonade and a passion for home-brewed beer into a viable business. On December 28, 2010, Blackrocks Brewery opened their taps to a standing room-only crowd and the pace hasn’t slowed since. Described as a nano-brewery, they began with a tight budget and internal capital. But, their unique and consistently tasty hand-crafted beer was so popular, even with limited open hours, they couldn’t meet demand. Recognizing the unmet potential, they turned to Northern Initiatives to support the purchase of equipment to increase production capacity, operating days and ultimately, profitability.

As tap room sales and the Blackrocks brand grew, Northern Initiatives provided another loan to support expansion into canning, bottling, and wholesale distribution. Today, loyal and new customers can select Blackrocks beer in grocery and specialty retail locations throughout the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, with the exception of metro Detroit.

Blackrocks Brewery employs 12 enthusiastic and passionate locals (7 PT and 5 at or near FT) in their expanded tap room and the “pop shop” canning facility. They partner with resident artisans for everything from decor and furnishings to the 1400 signature mugs that patrons have purchased for onsite use. Whenever possible, they look to their neighbors for ingredients for brewed treats like Caramel Apple Brown made with caramels from Donckers, a legendary Marquette candy maker.

In less than four years, Andy and David have created an institution where a locally crafted seat is highly prized. Over 150 different beers are brewed annually keeping the menu intriguing and fresh. The vibe at 424 N. Third Street is positively laid back, with jamming live music, eight taps of variable craft brews, and happy customers. The future for Blackrocks Brewery? It’s flowing – wide open.

Blackrocks Brewery Impacts:

  • Jobs Created 4 additional FTE (Update:  in 2022 Blackrocks employed 26 people)
  • 21% increase in taproom sales
  • Increase in barrels sold/year from 450 in 2012 to nearly 5000 in 2014
  • 1,400 Custom mugs purchased from a local artist for onsite use
  • 35% Increase in online and storefront merchandise sales


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