Pigeon Hill Brewery: Crafting Community

Passion, Perseverance, and Pints

by Cliff Duvernois

Pigeon Hill Brewery - Michael Brower

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How do you go from Law to Lager? Michael Brower, co-founder and Chief Brand Officer of Pigeon Hill Brewery, shares his journey from law school to opening a successful brewery in Muskegon, Michigan. Michael shares the challenges and triumphs of starting with a small taproom, the rapid growth that led to multiple expansions, and the importance of local pride and community in their business model.

Michael shares how the brewery’s began, the significance of the name ‘Pigeon Hill,’ and what visitors can expect when they visit the brewery.

Links:

Pigeon Hill Brewery: https://pigeonhillbrew.com/

Or Watch on YouTube:

Discover the Magic Behind Pigeon Hill Brewery: An Interview with Michael Brower

Introduction

Nestled in Muskegon, Michigan, Pigeon Hill Brewery brews more than just beer. It brews community, passion, and pride. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Michael Brower, the co-owner and Chief Brand Officer, to delve deep into the riveting story behind Pigeon Hill. This post is a distilled version of that conversation, brimming with insights, anecdotes, and the raw essence of what makes this brewery tick.

An Unlikely Start to a Hometown Icon

Michael Brower recounts his love for brewing, rooted deeply in his upbringing in Muskegon. Pigeon Hill, an iconic sand dune that once graced his neighborhood but was mined out for cast iron castings, inspired the name. He journeyed out of Michigan to chase a law degree but found himself drawn back to his roots almost immediately after graduation.

From Homebrew to Community Hub

Michael’s story continued with a fortuitous meeting over home-brewed beer with Joel Camp, a CPA, which birthed the early idea for Pigeon Hill Brewery. Along with Chad Plummer, the trio started small, driven by a vision to create not just a brewery, but also a community-gathering hub.

Their first significant challenge? Finding an ideal location. They set up shop downtown Muskegon, confident that they could contribute to the city’s resurgence. They aimed to create a space not only for selling growlers but also for social interaction, complete with live music and community events.

The Brewing Symphony: Growth and Expansion

The first major milestone came quicker than anticipated. Just months after opening, they ran out of beer during an event—a clear sign of unforeseen demand. They scrambled to expand, which led to purchasing larger equipment and moving into more extensive production facilities.

Michael reflects on how thrilling yet terrifying this rapid growth was. The expansion meant not just selling more beer but also embracing a more structured business model. They hired sales teams, designers for labels, and marketers to spread the word. Before they knew it, they had become a production brewery, contributing to Muskegon’s recognition far and wide.

Michigan’s Own: Brewing Statewide Pride

Shipping their beer statewide was a leap of faith that paid off immensely. Each can, labeled “Brewed in beautiful Muskegon, Michigan,” served as a mini-ambassador of pride, spreading the Muskegon love across Michigan. Michael beams when he recalls seeing their beer in remote corners of the state.

Stepping into Pigeon Hill: What to Expect

Visiting Pigeon Hill Brewery offers two distinct experiences. Patrons can enjoy the laid-back, communal feel of Brewer’s Lounge with 16 to 20 unique beers on tap or opt for the lively ambiance of Sociable, featuring duck pin bowling, craft cocktails, an arcade, and a mid-century modern vibe.

Each venue serves its purpose—whether it’s a quiet evening with board games at the Brewer’s Lounge or a bustling night out at Sociable. Both capture the spirit of Pigeon Hill, rooted in community and high-quality brews.

Final Thoughts

Pigeon Hill Brewery symbolizes more than just craft beer. It represents the heart and soul of Muskegon. Each can, each tap, each event, and each visitor intertwine to tell an ongoing story of resilience, growth, and community.

Michael invites everyone to join this journey, whether by visiting the brewery or enjoying a can labeled with Muskegon pride from anywhere in Michigan.

For more about Pigeon Hill Brewery, visit their website and follow them on their Facebook and Instagram. Cheers to ordinary Michiganders doing extraordinary things!