Tag: Mairi Smith-Risk

Two New Brew Crews

Engineering+Business=Beer

Perhaps inspired by our own Keweenaw Brewing Company (Dick Gray ’82) and Schmoz Brewery in Grand Rapids (Chas Thompson ’91), a couple of husband-wife alumni teams are bringing craft brewing to two different locales: Appleton, Wisconsin, and Zeeland, Michigan.

We caught up with them as they branch out in new careers and take a shot as business people.

Mairi (Smith-Risk) Fogle ’09 and Ben Fogle ’08 are the Appleton brewers, Ben is a brewer and production manager, and Mairi is the marketing director.

“Between the two of us, we have taken on a large share of the responsibilities, but there are many other people involved as well at varying levels of ownership,” Mairi says. “Ben’s dad (Jeff) is the president of the organization and Ben’s stepmom (Leah) is the chef.”

Other alumni are involved: Carl Pierce ’08 is also a brewer/owner and Evan Zaborski ’10 is an owner and part of the construction crew.

“We are building the twenty-barrel brew system, kitchen, and bar ourselves in what used to be an auto parts shop on College Avenue in Appleton,” Mairi says. “We are optimistic that we can open this summer, and we we will have a full bar in addition to the beer, but our primary focus will be on our beer.”

She said her menu will be a beer-centric, with all food will having beer in it or will go well with beer.

“We are very focused on educating our customers on craft beer and being transparent in everything we do,” Mairi said. “We will have the brew system visible through floor to ceiling windows, and the distribution line and kitchen will be visible through large windows that we’ve pulled out and restored during the renovations.”

They’ve focused on sustainability, too. They’ve re-used much of the wood torn out of the building for tables and benches, recycled steel for our equipment, and using the spent grain for bread and will be giving the rest to local farmers as feed for their animals. They are on Facebook.

Tripel RootAcross Lake Michigan in Zeeland (southwest of Grand Rapids), Nate ’05 and Laura ’05 Gentry are converting a 115-year-old building downtown into a restaurant and brewpub called Tripel Root (www.tripelroot.com).

Zeeland might be considered a unique place to start, since they just reversed their alcohol sale ban in 2006.

But, times have changed, and accenting their family-friendly focus, Tripel Root will be open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Tripel Root will also offer artisan stone breads made with spent grains left over from the brewing process.  It will serve its own beer along with wine and “guest taps” from other microbreweries.

Nate’s interest in brewing started early.

“He was home brewing while we were at Tech,” Laura says. “We lived in one of the subdivisions up the hill from Shopko. Nate also was a bartender at The Library for a few years.”

Tripel Root aims to bring more people to the downtown area. “We love the Zeeland community and look forward to working with the city and local businesses and organizations,” she said. The last use for the building was a bank, and the drive-through will be replaced with a door and outside seating area.

They have been working hard.

“After a weekend of working on demolition, we filled our first 20 yard dumpster and have made progress on taking down the inside walls,” she says.

They are also working on fundraising.

“If anyone is interested in an opportunity to be a part of our Founding Members Mug Club, contact us at info@tripelroot.com.”

Are there any other alumni brewers out there?

This story was originally published in the TechAlum Newsletter.


SBE Students Garner Top Honors at Annual Student Awards Banquet

The 13th Annual Student Awards Banquet: Recognizing Excellence and Leadership at Michigan Technological University was held on April 29, 2007 where SBE students started the night off with taking the President’s Award for Leadership.

The following SBE students were recognized at the awards banquet.

MTU President’s Award for Leadership: Elizabeth Molnar (MIS). Nominees also included SBE students Alex Tiseo and Elise Vertin.

MTU Rising Star of the Year: SherAaron Hurt (Management/Finance). SBE students Tracy Payne and Elise Vertin were also nominated.

Most Improved Student Organization: The SBE’s chapter of the American Marketing Association. SBE student leaders are Kevin Brock, President, and Mairi Smith-Risk, Executive Vice President, and SBE faculty advisors are Dongwook Kim and Robert Mark.

Woman of Promise Award (SBE): Rachel Boyle (Management)

Greek Woman of the Year: Elizabeth Molnar (MIS)

Outstanding Sorority of the Year Award: Delta Zeta. SBE student Rachel Boyle (MIS) is President of DZ.

Other SBE students nominated for awards at the Student included Danielle Norton for the the Provost’s Award for Scholarship; Mairi Smith-Risk for Exceptional Leadership in the Residential Community; Kevin Brock, Jill Garrity, Mairi Smith-Risk, and Alex Tiseo for Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader; and Amber Tarver and Elise Vertin for Student Employee of the Year.

In addition, two SBE faculty were nominated for Student Organization Advisor of the Year: Jim Gale and Teresa Woods.