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Private and public resources work together to brew a start-up success for Barrel + Beam in Marquette, Michigan

MARQUETTE, Michigan (November 15, 2018)  When Marina Dupler and Nick Vancourt began tossing around the idea of starting a brewery that crafts world-class farmhouse and barrel-aged real ale, they knew they would need plenty of support. Thanks to the business-friendly Upper Peninsula community, they got it. The collaboration at the heart of Marquette-based Barrel + Beam showcases the exceptional public and private sector support available to small businesses across the region.

Co-owner Marina Dupler states, “We’re a perfect example of how the Upper Peninsula’s businesses and government offices work together to generate and grow small businesses. We felt confident throughout the start-process because we had so much support. The business support resources also respected our privacy and were open to discussing our plan confidentially.” Support began with a business plan and zoning. AccelerateUP, a non-profit that offers business coaching, helped the couple to develop a strong plan, and the Marquette Township Planning and Zoning Department helped the business location get rezoned for manufacturing.

Barrel + Beam received state support as well. The brewery was the first brownfield project in the township. Brownfield grants and loans are available from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for projects that promote economic development and reuse of brownfield properties. Grants and loans can be used for environmental assessments and cleanups at properties with known or suspected contamination. The brownfield funding allowed Barrel + Beam to clean up the asbestos at what was previously the iconic Northwoods Supper Club, which opened in 1934 and closed in 2007. 

Closner Construction helped secure accurate building cost estimates and mBank walked the business owners through every step of financing. The Michigan Small Business Development Center (MSBDC) and members of the Upper Peninsula business community also provided assistance. Dupler notes, “It’s amazing to live in a place where people care about each other and want other businesses to succeed. We’re a great model of how to start a small business with the incredible resources that can be found across the Upper Peninsula.”

Barrel + Beam’s fully restored, Depression-era brewery and event space is located at 260 Northwoods Road, off Highway 41 in Marquette. In addition to serving niche beer, the company offers a unique and flexible venue for weddings, parties, showers and more. To learn more about Barrel + Beam, visit:

As a part of our commitment to the Upper Peninsula, we collaborate with partners to share some of the most compelling stories about business and job growth across the region. Our goal through these stories is to get at the heart of what makes the U.P. unique — and to ensure these stories travel beyond our peninsula and broadly illustrate why the UP is the place to live and work.

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