Michigan’s first Black-owned brewery is opening in Grand Rapids
Black Calder Brewing Company, the state’s first Black-owned beer company, is set to release its first cans of Black IPA on Friday, November 27 (aka Black Friday) at Broad Leaf Local Beer in Kentwood. The brand was established by beer fans Terry Rostic and Jamaal Ewing, who plan to collaborate with other breweries across the state in the coming months, per a release. “The craft beer industry was full of flavor, community, and creativity,” Ewing says in a statement. “The passion that brewers, owners, and staff put into creating a unique experience was refreshing. What we didn’t see was diversity and themes that spoke to the culture that we represent.” The brewery plans to eventually branch out into distilling and winemaking.
PJ’s Lager House’s future is in jeopardy
PJ Ryder, the owner of PJ’s Lager House in Corktown, has established a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign to try to save the pub and live music venue. Ryder previously told the Detroit News that his business, which went up for sale last year, may not be able to reopen after the three-week shutdown. “This shutdown is supposed to last for three weeks, but even if it is not extended, PJ’s will not have the financial wherewithal to re-open,” Ryder writes in the crowdfunding campaign. Bars and restaurants that go through shutdowns face significant financial obstacles to reopening, in part, because it requires replenishing supplies like perishable food. PJ’s Lager House had previously closed for cleaning after several positive cases of COVID-19 were traced to the bar.
Detroit restaurant workers express relief at temporary closures
After months of grueling work with customers pushing back against COVID-19 safety regulations while fearing for their own health, many restaurant employees around metro Detroit tell the Detroit Free Press they were relieved by the three-week indoor dining shutdown that took effect on Wednesday, November 18. At the same time, though, there’s a overarching fear of what an extended closure could mean for the industry and for worker’s financial situations with no federal bailout in sight.
Ann Arbor restaurant owner files lawsuit against insurance company
Another Michigan restaurant operator has filed a lawsuit against Cincinnati Insurance. The owner of Brown Jug and Backroom Pizza is suing the insurance company for declining to cover $75,000 in losses stemming from the pandemic. Dean Bach, a Ferndale-based restaurant operator, filed a similar lawsuit in September against Cincinnati Insurance.
Pizzeria owner charged with PPP loan fraud
Michael Bischoff, the owner of Passport Pizza and several other restaurant in Macomb County, was charged last week with bank fraud for allegedly misrepresenting the number of employees on payroll using falsified documents to acquire CARES Act paycheck protection loans. Bischoff allegedly applied for $931,000 in federal funds, about half of which he obtained through the purported scheme before getting caught.