GRAND RAPIDS — O’Connor’s Home Brew Supply has finally settled in.
Initially opened in March 2011 by Ben and Allison O’Connor, the shop has been shaking things up this past year, moving to its new location at 619 Lyon Street NE in July 2012.
Ben, previously a civil engineer and Allison, a former high school history teacher, noted that since the move, sales have doubled compared to the old location just a few hundred feet away. The added 600 square feet of storage in the basement allows them to carry an even larger variety of homebrewing ingredients, and also features an indoor electric brewing system where guests gather around at monthly homebrew classes.
The indoor brewing system is also used to experiment with the many different styles and methods of making beer in small batches. “We can’t call ourselves homebrew experts if we don’t try all the weird stuff that our customers try,” said O’Connor’s right-hand man, Nick LaVelle.
Although everyone at O’Connor’s began making beer in their homes, there are hundreds of different effective ways to make beer in small batches.
Ben stated that it took them nearly four months to make a full transition into the new space, despite the minimal distance of the move. Customers now enjoy a little more elbowroom when piecing together their recipes, as well as 80 types of grain, 40 hop varieties and a large selection of yeast strains.
As always, O’Connor’s continues many of its original features including personal recipes that are developed into the kit of the month. This month’s kit, Bad Kitty, is a spin on the ever-popular wheat pale. The beer features 33 IBUs delivered by Citra hops, giving the recipe a massive citrus, lemon and lime character.
Future plans for the shop include an online store, in which homebrewers can purchase supplies and equipment from anywhere. Additionally, the shop plans to hold its first annual homebrew competition this fall, where it will accept 100 recipes from homebrewers primarily in the Grand Rapids area.
The plans for the shop — and the neighborhood — don’t seem to be slowing down, either. While Ben didn’t disclose specifics, he did report that future businesses in the neighborhood will further the beloved food and beverage industry in the area.