Locally Produced TV Show Examines The History of Kalamazoo Beer
It would be easy to dismiss three people discussing the beer history of Kalamazoo as simply another "talking heads" show, but given it's beer and beer's prominence in both terms of a local industry and how much of the product people consume now in both Kalamazoo and Michigan, it's a fascinating look at how we got to "here".
The Public Media Network show is available on YouTube, and features the Kalamazoo Public Library's Keith Howard and former Kalamazoo Gazette reporter John Liberty who now runs West Michigan Beer Tours. One thing Liberty says early in the discussion was surprising, that the western part of this state is home to about 300 breweries and more specifically, closer to Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, some 140. (For all the jokes about pot shops and credit unions, that figure seems to dwarf the others.
One of the things that someone viewing learns is in its early days, Kalamazoo and its population of just over 1000 drank a lot of booze. Howard says the Kalamazoo of then drank about three times more (per capita) than Kalamazoo does now. He also notes in 1837, Kalamazooans (keep in mind, this is a population of just over 1,000) consumed 4,300 gallons of alcohol.
(Kazoo Books via YouTube)
Another fun fact is Kalamazoo's first brewery stood pretty much where Waldo Stadium is now.
Following that, there's a discussion of the roots of Prohibition and how brewers tried to work around the restrictions. And, how we got to where we are today.