What a long strange trip it’s been
The Man, The Myth, The Legend, Jack Archiable. We’re celebrating Jack’s official retirement from the craft beer scene this week (though we expect we’ll see him at a vinyl night or two at the Pull Barn), and we think it’s safe to say that craft beer in northern Michigan wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for this man.
From a young boy in Ohio who had a family history in brewing, it seemed natural for his path to lead him to beer. According to Jack, the first time he tasted homebrew from a man referred to as Thor, “The beer was fabulous. The freshness, the hops, and fresh barley were amazing. I was blown away. Within a couple of weeks, I was washing equipment and bottles in his basement watching him brew. I had to carry this on.”
By the time he moved to Michigan in 1977, he was an avid home brewer. He volunteered at Oryana and shared his homebrew at the end of a shift. He helped out at Pine Hill Nursery with their original daylily stock and they would break for homebrew. Then he moved to a bigger house and had the space to brew 4-5 beers at a time and give homebrew classes to friends. It was upon a visit to Lake Front Brewery to learn about commercial brewing and sipping a Lake Front Cherry beer that Jack decided he wanted to become a brewer. Once he learned the math of how to convert homebrew recipes to commercial scale recipes, he “wanted to outdo Robert Hunter of the Grateful Dead. He had composed three fantastic songs in one afternoon in London, England. I sat down at our bar and wrote five beer recipes. All of them were hits.”
He founded Traverse Brewing Company in 1996. Known for Manitou Amber Ale, Stout and Sleeping Bear Brown Ale and a host of other beers, TBC brought craft beer to the Grand Traverse Area. Perhaps you heard the story on a tour, or while enjoying a shifty, but Jack likes to tell it often. It’s a story about a young Joe Short walking into Traverse Brewing Company almost 20 years ago with a handful of homebrews and a dream to brew his own beer. Joe Short (Short’s Brewing), John Niedermaier (Brewery Terra Firma), Curt Guntzviller (Short’s Brewing Company), and Russel Springsteen (Right Brain Brewery) all worked at Traverse Brewing Company at different times.
In 2009, Joe officially asked Jack to come in and work for Short’s just as the Elk Rapids production facility was opening up. He’s worked at Short’s wearing almost as many hats over the years as Joe. From mentor to an employee, packaging team member to tour guide, Brewstorian to podcast guest, he’s been a fixture of Short’s since the beginning.
So to you Jack, we say thank you. Thanks for the memories and advice, for teaching us about the history of beer, for always being up for a pint and chat, for the music education and sharing of new (to me) tunes, for the beer, and for all of your hard work and dedication over the years. We wouldn’t be here without you and you leave a legacy to be proud of.