One of my favorite aspects of working in the insurance industry is meeting young entrepreneurs and watching them turn their passion into a career. One of these young entrepreneurs that I have had the pleasure of meeting is Michael Kuhn, brewmaster and owner of MaKraft Brewery in Edwardsville.
I met Michael a few years ago through my wife, as they have been lifelong friends. Being an Agent/Owner at The Insurance Alliance writing commercial insurance and in particular insurance for breweries is something that I do. So, I saw an opportunity to help a friend with his business.
When we spoke I was blown away by Michael’s drive to create his own brewery business and his dedication and overall love for the industry. This month, I’m excited to share his story of how he began his career as a brewmaster and business owner.
How MaKraft Brewery started
While in college, Michael Kuhn was never 100% sure what he wanted to do and admits to changing his major about 6 times. One thing he did know, however, was that he enjoyed making his own home-brewed beer. It seemed like fate when he read an article about accredited beer schools around the world and decided that this was what he wanted to do. He then took an entrance exam and applied to get his brewmaster degree from BrewLab, a brewery school located in New Castle, England.
“There was a three year waiting list so I figured this could be something I could fall back on,” Michael recalls. But soon enough he received a phone call and was headed to England within the next two months.
Brewing in Edwardsville
After completing his Brewmaster program, he returned home to Edwardsville and in 2014 MaKraft Brewery was born. He saw an opportunity to provide his hometown with his own beer and turns out it was a great business venture.
“I’m the only place in 40 miles that makes their own beer and there are probably only a handful of people within a few hours that have a formal degree in brewery,” Michael shared.
Michael decided to bring his brewery business to Edwardsville because he was born and raised here. He thinks the local business community is unlike any other community he has experienced; “The people here are great with helping local businesses and all the businesses support and have eachother’s back.”
What’s Next for MaKraft Brewery?
Michael plans to grow his brewery business by adding a few more small brewery locations. “My plan is to open a couple small breweries like what I have here in Edwardsville, with a small town vibe. Each brewery I add will be really personal to the community that it’s in.”
Michael is always constantly working on developing his craft and working to offer the best options to his customers; soon they will be offering their own line of hard-cider and wine. “Trends are always changing and there is a ton of information to stay on top of — there’s nothing better than continued education,” he stated.
Check out MaKraft Brewery!
Stop by Michael’s brewery, MaKraft Brewery, on Poplar Street and check out all his hard work– I’m excited to share his story and to see where his business and passion for brewing beer takes him.
Congratulations on your success Michael!