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Chelsea Alehouse to Close After 11 Years

A host of challenges, primarily centered around finding staff, have resulted in the owner, Chris Martinson, deciding to close the Chelsea Alehouse.

“We have been struggling since the pandemic to find and retain staff, it’s only been since last December that we have been able to open 7 days a week” said Martinson in a press release. “It has put a real strain on cash flow.”

Martinson was quick to add that he wouldn’t have been able to get this far without the current staff.

“We have a core group of dedicated employees that have been working so hard to keep the doors open, I was hoping that since we were finally able to expand our staff over the past few months that we could make it to the summer and beyond, but unfortunately the financial challenges are too great to continue in its current form,” said Martinson.

The Chelsea Alehouse opened in December of 2012 in the Clocktower Complex as a microbrewery and quickly became a community hub for music and other community events.

The business moved to the current location at 115 S. Main St. in the summer of 2018. The license was changed at the new location so they could have a full bar and they expanded the menu offerings. However a several-month delay in issuing the license by the State of Michigan resulted in a late opening and brewing space to be unfinished.

“It was devastating, and the MLCC wouldn’t give us any information on why our license was being held up,” Martinson said, adding he had to get our state representative’s office involved to get any information.

“Because of the delay, we had to change our brewing plans and use a much smaller system, which was not enough to keep up with demand,” he said, adding, “Luckily with our license change we could feature beer from other breweries and have cocktails and wine as well. It’s been a difficult 5 years on all fronts.”

Martinson hopes an interested party will take over the business and build upon what they started. The business plans to be open until mid-May with their current hours and menu.

“We are so thankful for all the community support over the years and hope we are able to serve our guests one last time during the next few weeks and close on a positive note,” added Martinson.

Updates can be found on and on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

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