GRAND RAPIDS — Eastern Kille Distillery plans to build a presence on Grand Rapids’ east side with a new tasting room that will focus on handcrafted cocktails.
The Grand Rapids Planning Commission will consider a site plan at its Feb. 10 meeting for the distillery to open a tasting room at 634 Wealthy St. SE. Eastern Kille owners plan to lease half of the building, which also includes Rowster Coffee Inc.
Plans call for a cocktail bar as well as a retail section for Eastern Kille spirits and apparel. Food is not included in the company’s current plans at the location.
If approved, the 1,100-square-foot tasting room will be an intimate space with a “different vibe” than the distillery’s main location at 700 Ottawa Ave. NW, Eastern Kille co-owner Brandon Voorhees told MiBiz. Inside capacity would be 36 to 48 people, according to planning documents filed with the city.
“Some of my favorite businesses reside (on Wealthy Street),” Voorhees said. “We’ve always had an eye on that area. We share similar clients with the restaurants, businesses and shops there, so it felt like a natural fit for us as we determine the next steps for Eastern Kille and how we want to grow and how to best serve our clientele.”
The distillery’s main location, which includes a distilling operation and tasting room, was purchased by Spectrum Health last June for $3.75 million, as MiBiz previously reported. Spectrum purchased the property as part of its eight-story office tower development it is constructing in the Monroe North neighborhood.
Eastern Kille will maintain its distilling operation and tasting room at the Ottawa Avenue location through the end of 2022, Voorhees said. The distillery recently purchased 16 acres near Rockford where it plans to move the distillery and establish an outdoor cocktail garden in the future, Voorhees added.
“As we finalize plans to potentially move production north of Grand Rapids, we wanted to make sure we had a presence here with our tasting rooms,” Voorhees said. “The Wealthy Street (tasting room) will be a great addition to our future Grand Rapids presence.”
Because of the small size of the planned Wealthy Street tasting room, Eastern Kille is also looking at opening a tasting room somewhere near its current location, Voorhees said.
“We love this neighborhood so much,” Voorhees said of Monroe North. “It was the right thing we believe for the city and growth of Eastern Kille to go through with that (sale) to Spectrum, but at the same time we still want to have a presence here in the Monroe North corridor.”