GTPulse: Short’s Brewing Looking For Locals Making a Difference

I still think about that post from Short’s Brewery from over the summer where they talked about the verbal and emotional abuse their service staff was enduring at the hands of rabid customers. It’s strange to think that just a few short months ago restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries weren’t even open. And everyone complained about it. It’s stranger still to think of how service staff is treated right after a lockdown where most people found that their top three hobbies are:

  1. Going out to eat
  2. Getting drunk at the bar
  3. Shopping

Walking the line of pleasing customers and complying with health regulations has been difficult for all establishments through this pandemic, but Short’s stood up for their staff, and for that, I commend them. Grace under pressure hasn’t been easy this year but they’ve managed to demonstrate grace and goodwill towards their employees, and now they want to do the same for the local community here in Northern Michigan.

Local’s Light ‘Share The Light’ campaign began this past June as an initiative to spotlight local people doing good in their community. Through an Instagram hashtag #localslights, anyone can nominate someone who is giving back to the community in ways big and small.

“We have had nominees that are just individuals. We had someone that does music therapy programs, we were talking about nominating an election worker for this upcoming season. We do a little research on the backend and see what these people are all about, are they aligned with our mission and our values? And then from there we review the selections as a team and make our pick for who to award a donation to,” Creative and Marketing Manager Christa Brenner said.

Each month a team of people at Short’s Brewing sifts through the shared #localslights hashtag and chooses a winner to donate to a charity of their choice, or show a little love to.

Last month’s winner was the staff at Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District.

“I would say one of my favorites so far was actually a school in Traverse City, the TBAISD. We actually had someone nominate their entire staff, we have done one for the entire staff before. So that was a pretty cool one. Instead of sending people swag we actually had lunch sent over for the entire staff of 40 to the school as a thank you and a different way to recognize our local lights.”

They’re hoping to get more submissions from great people doing great things, and although the campaign right now has been largely happening in Michigan, it’s open to any place in their distribution footprint. The rules are simple, in an Instagram or Facebook post, share a story of someone local who is doing something kind for the community. It could be anyone, from the person who brings you groceries to the nurse who went above and beyond.

‘Share The Light’ is apart of a larger effort to give back to their local and national community. As brewers, water is naturally something they’re passionate about. Having clean water sustains life, growth, and beer. 

“We wanted to find a range of causes to donate to so we wanted something that was for hospitality industry, something that was protecting clean water, and then we also donated to Title Track which is a local nonprofit dedicated to equity and empowerment, ans also clean water.”

They looked after their own local employees by providing the option to continue to work during the lockdown and early rise of Covid cases. Short’s was able to stay open throughout, offering takeout during the shutdown.

“Thankfully we stayed open,” CEO Scott Newman-Bale. “For the most part we didn’t have any significant layoffs. There was a temporary layoff of 25 to 40 days, depending on the employee, 100% of that was self selected. We created an employee fund in case there were any emergency needs, and then we paid every one of our staff an additional hourly rate during Covid to help ease a little of their stress. Outside of that we’ve donated to restaurant funds.”

Whether it’s their employees or the members of the community where it all started, Short’s Brewing Company wants to share their Local’s Light beer and the light their locals are bringing to the community. Who do you know creating some good out there? Learn more at

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Categories: GTPulse