July is a month of celebration for the Michigan beer industry, and no one seems to celebrate like Crunchy’s in East Lansing.
The restaurant and bar currently plays home to Michigan Month, where all 27 taps and a majority of the food is purely Michigan-made.
General Manager Mike Kruger said they don’t do it for attention, but to celebrate the great state of Michigan.
“We don’t think of it as a, ‘Look at us, we’re doing Michigan,'” Kruger said. “In general people know Crunchy’s as being supportive of Michigan breweries and companies, so it draws them here anyway.”
MIchigan Month isn’t a huge stretch from where the company normally takes its business ideals. Instead of just 15-20 taps, Crunchy’s dedicates all 27 taps to Michigan brews, and pull off items of purely Michigan ingredients to a special menu.
“It’s a chance to have a good reason to pull off all the domestics and just do Michigan beers and blow it out — stuff i’ve saved over the last year, and just highlight all the fun stuff michigan brewers do,” he said.
Kruger even finds a way to keep specials around and make sure customers feel like they can still find value in quality brews.
“To honor our prices, we price two of the beers — Atwater D-Light and Shorts Locals Light — we keep that the same price, so we can keep all of our specials and it gets a lot of the guys and girls that just drink Miller Light. They don’t have that choice, but if they’re still trying to drink cheap, they’re getting onto these other craft lagers. We take a little hit, but it’s worth it to expose people to the beer.”
From there, those customers often find themselves exploring other, craftier Michigan beers they might not otherwise try, Kruger said.
For food, Kruger said Crunchy’s tries to use as much local ingredients as possible, and it’s fairly easy to do with Michigan State University right next door.
“We use as much Michigan products as we can,” he said. “It’s not too cost prohibitive anyway. We pull off a few of the items that are exclusively Michigan products and just highlight it. Burgers, burger toppings, salads. We do a lot work with the (MSU) Dairy Store, so we highlight that fact also. We just try to highlight it because Michigan is great, and so are the things it produces.”