Eastern Market Brewing Co. becomes official craft beer partner of Detroit Pistons

Detroit Free Press

Partnership for 2021-22 season will include a new beer, D Up, a 5.0% ABV kolsch with lemon and lime notes

Eastern Market Brewing Co. and the Detroit Pistons are teaming up.

With the Pistons opening their 2021-22 season Wednesday, the two sides announced Tuesday that EMBC, a Detroit-based craft brewery that also owns Ferndale Project, will become the official craft beer partner of the NBA squad.

The partnership includes a new limited-release beer by EMBC, called “D Up,” a 5.0% alcohol-by-volume kolsch with lemon and lime notes. D Up will first be released at the EMBC taproom at 2515 Riopelle in Detroit, followed by local distribution through Peddler.

EMBC also said it is “in discussions” for D Up cans to be available at Little Caesars Arena sometime during the season, and the two sides are working to integrate EMBC beer into Pistons VIP events.

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“Our ability to scale the past two years opened the door to partnership opportunities we previously did not have the capacity to consider,” said Dayne Bartscht, managing partner of Eastern Market Brewing Co., in a news release. “We quickly realized that the Detroit Pistons were the perfect fit. Like us, they are a local organization on the rise with a young core and unlimited potential, invested in the community and looking to build upon the city’s rich history and traditions.”

Eastern Market Brewing Co. opened in 2017 out of a 2,500-square-foot brewery and taproom space at 2515 Riopelle and has since greatly expanded its footprint across metro Detroit. In 2019, it purchased Axle Brewing Co. and opened Ferndale Project in Axle’s former Livernois Tap space at 567 Livernois, and earlier this year signed a 5-year lease at the former Roak Brewing Co. taproom in Royal Oak, with plans to open a taproom there later this year.

EMBC is best known for its Elephant Juice, a 7.2%-ABV New England IPA brewed with an “elephant-sized” volume of Citra and Mosaic hops, as well as a mix of other IPAs, fruited sours and occasional stouts. You may recall it released “Same Old Lager” last year as an ode to the “Same Old Lions” (though it had to pause for a few weeks due to an issue with putting Barry Sanders’ likeness on the initial can release), though that was not the result of a partnership with the NFL team.

The Pistons open the season at 7 p.m. Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls at Little Caesars Arena. Among the story lines for the Pistons’ season is the highly anticipated debut of Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick of June’s NBA draft.

Spirits of Detroit writer Brian Manzullo covers craft alcohol for the Free Press. Contact him: bmanzullo@freepress.com and on Untappd, bmanzullo and Twitter, @BrianManzullo and @SpiritsofDET.

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