New Mickey-inspired beer, Frankenmuth fun and more Mid-Michigan business news

SAGINAW, MI – From a microbrewery’s plans to release a new Mickey Mouse-inspired beer to a look back at the businesses that opened and closed in the region in 2023, here’s some recent mid-Michigan business news you may have missed :

The exterior of the Gougeon Brothers office as seen on Friday, February 21, 2020 in Bay City, Michigan (Riley Yuan |

What is this? Millions in Bay County investment announced

Three economic development projects totaling more than $17 million in investment were announced across Bay County, capping what officials are calling “another banner year for private equity investment and capital formation.”

“We are honored and grateful to have worked with these companies to meet their needs for growth and expansion in our community. Without the coordinated support we demonstrate in Bay City and Bay County, those investments go elsewhere, those high-quality jobs go elsewhere and those investment dollars go elsewhere,” Bay Future President and CEO Trevor Keys said in a statement.

“These latest three announcements complete a total of 10 economic development projects generating more than $343 million in new capital investment for our community in 2023.”

Read the full story here.

View of the Big Boy located at 6301 Dixie Hwy. in Bridgeport on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023 (Kaytie Boomer |

These businesses opened, closed in mid-Michigan in 2023

The mid-Michigan business landscape is always changing, and 2023 was no exception.

From restaurants to retailers, here’s a look back at some of the businesses that opened and closed this year.

See the list here.

A view of downtown Valerie, located at 216 S. Washington Ave. in Saginaw. (Katie Boomer |

A Saginaw restaurant welcomes customers back after temporarily closing

After temporarily closing, Valerie’s Downtown, a Washington Avenue joint known for Mexican cuisine and sandwiches, is back in business.

The restaurant is located at 216 S. Washington Ave. in downtown Saginaw, formerly Wally’s. Restaurant owner Julianna Stricker opened the business in 2019.

Stricker announced the temporary closure via the restaurant’s Facebook page in December and told MLive/The Saginaw News that she and the restaurant “remain committed and love the community and will come back strong.”

Read the full story here.

A Kake Banana Pudding Shake is available at the counter at Delicious Sweets Bakeshop at Fashion Square Mall in Saginaw on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Kaytie Boomer |

This cute little business has left the mall, but it’s not closed

A local bakery has closed up shop at the Fashion Square Mall eatery, but it’s not saying goodbye to customers.

Cierra Crudup, owner of Saginaw-based Delicious Sweets Bakeshop and Krav’n Cookies, recently announced via the Delicious Sweets Bakeshop Facebook page that her bakery will be leaving the Saginaw County Mall after several years in business there.

“Over the past 5 years I have run 2 locations, added a 3rd and a biscuit shop. I am so thankful to God that He has blessed me and grace to do all that I have done. It’s time for a change. It’s time for a reckoning! Time for something new!” the post reads in part. “While I will miss the Fashion Square location, I’m super excited for what’s to come!”

Read the full story here.

A view of the Bavarian Inn Lodge located at 1 Covered Bridge Lane in Frankenmuth on Wednesday, January 3, 2024.

What is this? Frankenmuth’s Lodge now offers Unicorn Magic Melba, a dragon laser tag

A popular tourist attraction in Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” recently announced new offerings, including an ice cream shop with eye-catching melba and dragon-themed laser tag.

It’s the start of an $80 million, multiphase expansion underway at Frankenmuth’s Bavarian Inn Lodge, 1 Covered Bridge Lane, which is expected to wrap up this fall with the opening of Bavarian Blast, described as “Michigan’s largest indoor water park and a family entertainment center’.

“We have a lot going on and this is the first wave of openings with our water park expansion,” said Marta Zender Kaczynski, vice president and fourth-generation owner.

Read the full story here.

Steamboat Willie went public on January 1, 2024 (Disney)

Michigan Brewery Brews Mickey-Inspired Beer As Disney Icon’s Copyright Expires

A mid-Michigan brewery is releasing a new Mickey Mouse-inspired beer this February, and it doesn’t need Disney’s permission.

That’s because the copyright for an early version of the iconic character, Steamboat Willie, expired earlier this year, putting the black-and-white cartoon mouse in the public domain.

Midland Brewing Co.’s new Steamboat Willie beer. will be available to customers next month, company officials announced on the brewery’s Facebook page.

“What better way to capitalize on an expiring copyright on an iconic California cartoon character than by brewing California Common Steam beer, which also has a compelling character. Embark on a flavor adventure with this steamy, amber-hued beer that boasts 5.4% ABV and 30 IBUs—a perfect balance of tradition and modern flair,” the post reads.

Read the full story here.

Katie Kildee | craft beers are available to customers at the new Oppermann’s Cork ‘N’ Ale location at 1607 E. Patrick St. on Thursday, February 18, 2016 in Midland. The Saginaw News,

Trying “Dry January?” This mid-Michigan wine, beer and liquor store has you covered

Oppermann’s Cork ‘N’ Ale is known for its extensive selection of fine wines, exclusive spirits and craft beer, but non-alcoholic beverages are becoming increasingly popular.

A few days into 2024, with New Year’s resolutions still fresh in people’s minds and some choosing to abstain from alcohol during what has been dubbed “Dry January,” Cork ‘N’ Ale officials posted on Facebook about the many non-alcoholic options shoppers can find on store shelves.

“If you’re participating in Dry January, we’ve got you covered! We have many excellent non-alcoholic options to choose from!” read the post on the Oppermann’s Cork ‘N’ Ale Facebook page, which included photos of some of the products. “We even have ingredients to make your own ‘mocktails’!”

Read the full story here.

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