GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Brewing Co. announced plans to become Michigan’s only all-organic brewery.
All of GRBC’s beers will be made using only organic grains and other organic ingredients. The announcement comes on the heels of the city of Grand Rapids being named BeerCity USA 2012.
The brewpub, to be located at 1 Ionia Ave. SW in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids’ entertainment district, is being designed to provide casual beer drinkers, craft beer connoisseurs and people interested in natural, organic ingredients with another compelling reason to visit downtown’s entertainment district.
Mark Sellers, co-owner of BarFly Ventures and GRBC, said the decision to go “all organic” was neither simple nor without risk.
“Sourcing organic hops, malt and grain is very challenging,” he said. “There aren’t many to go around, and we had to do a lot of legwork to line up suppliers and farms who could sell us organic ingredients in the quantities we require. We’re taking the obligation that comes with calling GRBC an organic brewery very seriously.”
GRBC’s veteran brewmasters, Stu Crittenden and Jake Brenner, have spent months researching other organic beers and breweries to understand the challenges and promise of using products grown without the use of pesticides and other chemicals.
Brenner, who grew up in Traverse City and graduated from Grand Valley State University, has been brewing for seven years, including two years at nearby HopCat.
Crittenden, an East Lansing native, has six years of brewing experience under his belt, including stints at Michigan Brewing Co. in Webberville and the former GRBC on 28th Street SE, which closed last year before being acquired by Sellers.
While some breweries in the region have produced individual organic brews, when GRBC opens in late August, it will be the first and only brewery in Michigan making a commitment to creating only organic beer.
“Our mission is to create beers that people will enjoy drinking using products that are natural, sustainable and, whenever possible, locally grown,” Crittenden said.
The same philosophy will carry over to the unique variety of foods that will be offered using as many all-natural, organic and locally-sourced ingredients as possible.
The brewery expects to be certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before or shortly after opening.