BATTLE CREEK — New Holland Brewing Co. LLC plans to open its third brewery and taproom in West Michigan after purchasing a vacant building at 64 West Michigan Ave. in Battle Creek, MiBiz has learned.
The Holland-based brewery, which has a satellite operation in Grand Rapids, will invest more than $1 million to renovate the 18,000-square-foot downtown Battle Creek building, which has sat vacant for more than five years.
Economic development group Battle Creek Unlimited selected New Holland after issuing a request for proposals in December 2017 to redevelop three buildings in downtown Battle Creek, according to President and CEO Joe Sobieralski. To sweeten the pot, BCU also added a $200,000 incentive for a new brewery/distillery to open in the city.
New Holland bought the building for $1, said David White, vice president of retail operations for the brewery. The renovation costs for the site will include plumbing and electrical work and the replacement of windows, he added. New Holland’s plans for the location include onsite brewing and distilling.
“It really needs quite a bit of work,” White told MiBiz. “It’s really just a shell, but it’s a really cool historic building.”
Construction is expected to begin this fall with an April/May 2019 opening, White said, noting the company decided to open in Battle Creek because of the partnership and the ability to encourage more investment in the community.
“I think we’re always looking for great partnerships and BCU and the city really kind of resonated with us in terms what they’re trying to do,” White said. “We’re always looking at being catalysts. Absolutely, there’s a risk, but strong partnerships help.”
The main floor of the building will house a brewpub, with production set to take place in the basement. Uses for the upper floor remain undetermined.
New Holland will offer lunch and dinner options, a seasonal beer garden and retail at the new location, and could also look to add a coffee bar. The company anticipates the pub will employ about 50 people.
Sobieralski said the RFP generated more than 900 hits on the BCU website and resulted in the receipt of eight proposals.
“I was quite pleased that our incentive attracted so much attention,” he said. “We hit a home run. The third largest brewer in the state of Michigan wants to come to Battle Creek.”
White said he expects the new Battle Creek location to attract families, young working professionals, and beer tourism is line with the board demographic the company serves at its brewpubs in Grand Rapids and Holland.
“In the morning, there is the likelihood of (serving) coffee and pastries. A lot of people working in the downtown area will come in for lunch and Battle Creek natives are looking for a place to eat at night,” White said. “We want this to be a welcoming space for people to gather.”
Downtown Battle Creek has been without a brewery since September 2017, when Arcadia Brewing Co. closed its taproom at 103 W. Michigan Ave., citing challenges with the building. The closure came after a lease dispute between the brewery and BCU, which owned the property.
According to Sobieralski, New Holland’s decision to open in the city should help improve the downtown business climate and lead to more foot traffic.
“Having New Holland in town will drive people from areas like Kalamazoo and into Jackson to check out the brewpub,” Sobieralski said. “I think it’s going to drive more evening and weekend traffic. The brand is going to drive to make this a destination within this region.”