There are certain cities that are identified as craft beer epicenters. Some of those are metropolises like San Diego and Portland, and others are small craft brew burgs like Asheville, N.C., and Fort Collins, Colo. Some the craft breweries in those small cities have grown so much that it’s changing the local culture. Grand Rapids, Mich., is a great example. The city’s reputation and self-image have undergone a noticeable swing, in part because of craft beer. The local ABC affiliate did a great piece of the town’s evolving economy and culture.
A town that not too long ago might have been perceived as staid is rallying around its brewers — perhaps never more noticeably than this week, as the scene’s supporters campaign for online votes to retain its Beer City USA title, which it co-held with Asheville, N.C., in 2012.
“I think the craft beer movement has changed Grand Rapids. … Politicians are waking up to the fact that craft beer is pumping tax dollars into the economy, generating income for the local businesses and so on,” said Steve Siciliano, whose Siciliano’s Market on the city’s west side is a mecca for craft-beer buyers and home-brewing enthusiasts. “We did have that reputation of being a very reserved, very conservative area. Grand Rapids is still conservative. But not as much as five years ago.”
Founders Brewing Co. is the biggest Grand Rapids brewhouse, but other local breweries like Grand Rapids Brewing Co. and HopCat are making the city a craft mecca. Learn more by watching the video above.