The idea for Macatawa Ale Company fermented for years until Andrew Westerlund felt the timing was finally right to open a family-owned brewery in Holland.
His dad, Ed, a homebrewer for more than 20 years, has always supplied unique beer to family parties, which logically led to questions about when he would open a brewery himself.
Andrew said it made sense to provide another option to the city’s growing craft beer scene and convinced his dad and his uncle, Jeff Westerlund, to round out the partnership behind Macatawa Ale Company.
“(My dad) has been doing it since before it was cool,” Andrew said with a smile. “We are excited to do this as a family.”
Macatawa Ale Company, located at 102 River Ave., just north of downtown Holland, is expected to open in January, with brewing scheduled to begin in December.
Right now Andrew is focused on finishing the extensive remodeling required to transform the 50-seat tasting room and brewing area into what his family envisions.
Walking through the construction on a rainy afternoon, Andrew explains the small building was home to a pizza place his family frequented in the 60s and 70s. Macatawa Ale Company will honor that vibe with old pictures of the restaurant. Since he and his family are all musicians, Andrew expects live music will play an instrumental role in the tasting room experience as well.
“Music and beer,” he said. “That is a dream job for anybody.”
Andrew predicts Macatawa Ale Company will start with traditional, time-tested beers such as a brown stout, American style ale, hefeweizen and golden ale.
Eventually, Andrew hopes to try small scale distribution on his own, as Michigan law permits it for breweries that produce less than 1,000 barrels a year.
Serving food also could be an option, but initially Macatawa Ale Company will allow patrons to bring in food from wherever they want.
“We want to make sure the beer is where it needs to be before we add in other variables,” Andrew said. “Beer first. Period.”