Detroit — Motor City Brewing Works, one of Detroit’s original microbrewers, celebrates its 20-year mark by shipping out its first batch of Ghettoblaster in a can — a major expansion of its flagship beer.
Before, the Midtown brewmaker always sold Ghettoblaster in bottles. Cans allow beer to travel greater distances than bottles while remaining fresh. That means the English mild ale will soon be sold in Maine, New Jersey and Texas. Those states are new markets for the Motor City, which has a tasting room at 470 W. Canfield.
As the name implies, Ghettoblaster beer was born in the pre-iPod era of the late ’90s, and Motor City Brewing founder John Linardos wanted the name to reflect the company’s Cass Corridor roots, the legendary gritty neighborhood just north of downtown. Much of it is now called Midtown and it’s been steadily going more upscale. Ghettoblaster, of course, was the common nickname for large portable cassette-radio players that people often carried around.
“Ghettoblaster was born during a great Cass Corridor time when it was full of underground music and art,” Linardos said.
Linardos also produced two compilations of local music under the Ghettoblaster name and is working on releasing a third compilation. The Canfield tasting room, which also serves highly acclaimed pizza, has also routinely hosted exhibits of area artists.
Detroit’s renowned pop artist Glenn Barr designed the image for the new beer can and 15-pack case.
On Saturday night at New Center Park, 2990 W. Grand. Blvd., Motor City hosts a “canniversary,” where the can will debut, and again mixes the beer with music. Garage rock trio the Hentchmen and electronic/pop/R&B indie darling Tunde Olaniran perform at the free event. Between and after the live music, DJs from People’s Records will spin music. The party starts at 8 p.m.
When Motor City Brewing Works began, there were no state laws regarding the new industry of brew pubs and microbrewers. Most of the laws were written to protect the big corporate beer makers and the wholesalers and distributors used to dealing with a much larger quantity than those produced by local brewers.
Linardos was one of the original members of Michigan Brewers Guild, the Lansing trade association that lobbied for legislation tailored more for small brewers. The associations say there are now more than 150 craft brewers in the state. Their direct economic impact in the state amounted to $609 million last year, according to the brewers guild.