Meet The Beards Management Team



Peter Manthei– Peter has called Petoskey home his entire life, and although this town is on the small side, Peter has always thought BIG. He’s our resident creative visionary and Master of Elixirs, always having been interested in how things are made and made well. It’s no surprise he ended up opening up a craft-based business with his friend Ben Slocum.

And while you can sometimes spot Peter at the pub working on projects, he’s definitely an idea man behind-the-scenes creating artwork, graphics, spreadsheets, marketing plans, and more! Recently, you can start seeing Peter in some of our marketing videos and as a host on our new show, the What’s Your Craft series.

Peter’s preferred (not favorite) color is red and a song that reflects him as a person is Felt Tip Pen by the Seatbelts from the Cowboy Bepop Soundtrack. We can definitely confirm that this tune is the perfect song for Peter strolling down the street.

In his non-existent free time Peter like to play video games, read, study Japanese, play guitar and watch movies. According to his awesome wife Kari, Peter is great at being a husband. He’s also a great brainstormer! He wrote a book once, owns a chainmail suit, and likes making films, too.

Coffee is his favorite beverage to drink and what actually got him into the craft beverage business in the first place. Corn chips and salsa are his preferred snack and lately he’s been experimenting with traditional Japanese dishes–so far, okonomayaki is his favorite!

Peter says he could never just pick one beer style and one name for a beer even to define him as a person, so that’s why he opened a brewery! We can tell you for trivia reasons that our Hibiscus Saison, Forget Me Knot, is a beer recipe and name made specifically for Peter & Kari’s wedding. Awww.

If Peter led an A-Team on worldly adventures, his team would consist of his wife Kari and their 3 cats: Earl Grey, Ginseng, and Tarmac–Team SuperCats!


Ben Slocum–Ben has grown up here in NoMi and has always wanted to stay. On top of that, he wanted to bring something to the community that wasn’t there, something that he could create and build, and well, own. And along with his business partner Peter Manthei, that’s how we got Beards Brewery all the way back in 2012.

And we are so grateful. I mean, otherwise I wouldn’t be here writing this profile, right? Anyways, Back to Ben! Ben is a bit of an everything-man here at Beards: in the beginning, he brewed, he pubtended, he managed, he fixed–he had to do it all! But now that our Beards Team has expanded with other awesome enthusiasts, Ben primarily focuses on those things most of us are scared of: paperwork and governing agencies AND SPREADSHEETS.


And while he enjoys creating his own spreadsheet formulas a little bit too much, we are grateful he does all those things so we can concentrate on other things, like pouring beer!

Ben’s favorite color is green, he enjoys listening to Bloc Party, and you can occasionally see him speeding (safely) through town on his vintage scooter and sidecar. And while he has always lived in NoMi, he has seen a lot of the world in his work as a Rally Race navigator.

In his very non-existent free time Ben fills it with…more work! He’s an EMS and firefighter in the community! But when he can find a free moment, Ben likes to get outside for a hike with his wife, Kirstyn, and their dog, Ava. He likes to cook A LOT and there isn’t much he won’t try, but some of his goes to are sushi and our very own Serendipity Porter.

If Ben had a beer named after him, it would be called Scooter Trash and it would be an IPL. And if he led an A-Team, his fellow team members would be Peter Solberg (wheelman), Sigourney Weaver (Muscle), Jiro Ono (Sustinance).

Ben will one day execute his around-the-world trip that includes sailing, driving, and train riding–maybe after the pandemic has run its course? His favorite Halloween go-tos are Stranger Things and Alien.

Brew Squad Leader


Justin Koziol–Justin is The Dogman, the leader of brewery operations and recreational forest adventures. He’s a big idea man, always pushing creativity and innovation in the brewery and out.

Justin can be very serious, but will also be the one to reminisce about the old days when he [redacted for mention of possible misdemeanor activity]. Outside work, Justin is constantly on a spirit quest for knowledge and answers to life’s mysteries. He’s great at getting lost in the woods on purpose, hunting, gathering, foraging, making bread, talking about Captain Planet, and being VERY accurate about everything (Example: He approves of aliens, but condemns the TV show “Ancient Aliens”).

We are all very good at keeping his blood pressure up, taking advantage of his expertise & knowledge and challenging it with sarcastic barbs and bored faces. Justin likes to drink Sours specifically, but all beers in general, and also whiskey! If he had to name a beer after himself it would probably be something like this: “I Dunno, I’m A Very Multi-Faceted Person.”

A-TEAM COHORTS: Ol’ Dirty Bastard, (Dead Zone) Christopher Walken, Andre the Giant



Stephen Struwve–Groovy Struwve (stroovee), as we like to call him sometimes, traveled far and wide, and lucky us, landed here in Petoskey all the way from the exotic lands of Anoka, Minnesota. As he has always wanted to be an explorer of new places in the world, time, and space (woah there buddy, careful with the time-space continuum) we are quite pleased that he chose us.

Besides his actual job as Retail & Events Manager at Beards, Stroov steps in anywhere with a helping hand. During all of this COVID-19 madness, he has become quite the expert at pizza dough making, so you can thank him for all of the delicious pizza next time you see him!

This tuba-playing, basketball trickshot-taking fellow always throws 200% enthusiasm into his projects and is down for pretty much any of our suggestions when it comes to fun events and ideas. And hey, did you know that Stroov has THE BEST Halloween sweater vest in existence? It’s spooktacular.

Outside his Beards work, he loves to hang out with his partner, Becky, and their Australian Shepherd Maple, whether that be rambling around the local hiking trails or jamming on the odd instruments he has at home. And if you just pictured Maple the aussie shepherd playing drums and wearing shades, then you’re living right. Stroov likes drinking IPAs and Belgian style beers the most; and if he had a beer named after him, it would be an IPA called “Stroove’s Groove.” Also, if he led an A-TEAM, his cohorts would be Becky, Maple, & Kevin Garnett.



Emily Hengstebeck–*I cannot write about myself in third person, so forgive my informality*

I grew up in SE Michigan (Royal Oak) with countless road trips to northern Michigan until I finally found an excuse to move up north permanently (thanks Benjamin K. Slocum!). When I first started at Beards, we were still slinging beers over on Howard Street at Pub 1.0 where I was a pubtender. That is where I got to meet all of the fine folk of Petoskey and got to know the town I have come to love.

Since then, Ben & Peter have entrusted me with the running of our outside sales and events department which consists of me and my trusty transportation sidekick, Vanimal.

When I’m not running around the state saying hello to beer stores and restaurants (although not much right now, thanks pandemic!), you can find me lending a hand in the Beards kitchen or getting lost in the woods on a nice long hike. I also devour horror, YA, and romance novels, and occasionally SCUBA dive with my dad.

Like my preference for IPAs, I enjoy a hop-a-round lifestyle spent exploring new things that involve beer, bookstores and hiking. I excel at quiche-making, kicking things far distances, having nightmares about grizzly bears, writing staff profiles, and wearing hats. Post-pandemic I am most looking forward to breaking in my new passport and being able to squish all of my younger cousins with hugs.

If I had a beer named after me (hark! I already do, suckers!) it would be called “Amity” and it would be a Red IPA.

And if I led an A-TEAM, my cohorts would be: Eliza Thornberry, America Chavez, & Stacker Pentecost