In August of 2015, Kalamazoo welcomed its newest brewery, Brite Eyes Brewing Co. Just like the other local breweries, Brite Eyes wanted to add their own twist to the craft beer scene in Kalamazoo. So they decided to serve their delicious Michigan beer with breakfast!
Owners Brian and Shelby Pierce wanted to open a brewery in Kalamazoo that would offer something for everyone to enjoy. They began by brainstorming different types of drinks each of them enjoyed. Brian was a craft beer enthusiast, while Shelby loved to have a hot cup of coffee or tea. Their interests then led to the idea of opening a coffeehouse brewery.
“A coffeehouse and a brewery crowd are very similar. A lot of them are probably the same people so why not just be a one stop shop. Plus, we can make really fun tea beers and coffee beers because we have the stuff in house,” said Brian Pierce.
Once word was out about this new venture, many people showed their support and gave the owners ideas for the new coffeehouse brewery. For example, the idea of serving coffee on nitro. Brian and Shelby loved the idea and did tons of research on how they could build upon it for Brite Eyes.
To go along with their nitro tap, Brian and Shelby partnered with the Michigan-based coffee company Johnny Java’s. They connected with the family-owned company during their visits to the Kalamazoo’s Farmer’s Markets and thought Johnny Java’s freshly roasted coffee would be perfect to serve at Brite Eyes.
When it came time to decide on food options, breakfast ended up being accidental during a soft opening while waiting for their beer license.
“Breakfast was kind of a mistake. When we soft opened, we were experimenting with morning hours because we’re a coffeehouse also,” said Brian Pierce. “We thought, lets first try being open at 6:30 in the morning and see if people would get out of their cars and come in since we don’t have a drive thru. And if we’re going to be open, we need to have scones or something, so let’s try breakfast.”
Their location on South Burdick St. in downtown Kalamazoo also gave Brite Eyes the idea of catering to the morning crowd because of the businesses surrounding them.
“The hospital is right down the street and the police station is across the street, so we knew we would have a lot of morning traffic,” said Shelby Pierce.
The morning traffic heading into Brite Eyes is not only from people heading into work, but also for those leaving work. When Brite Eyes learned they could start serving their beer at 7am, they immediately adjusted their opening time. This allowed them to offer a cold brew with a hot breakfast to workers who have been working all night.
So, the next time you’re hungry and thirsty after your overnight shift, or wanting to explore a new brewery offering more than just creative beer, consider Brite Eyes. Their bright and open space with the smell of coffee provides a coffeehouse feel as you enjoy your hot breakfast. While your personalized dark and tan with nitro coffee will remind you that you are at a Michigan brewery.