E-Malt. E-Malt.com News article: USA, MI: Saugatuck Brewing Co. preparing to launch new Kalamazoo location in a few weeks

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E-Malt.com News article: USA, MI: Saugatuck Brewing Co. preparing to launch new Kalamazoo location in a few weeks
Brewery news

Saugatuck Brewing Co. is preparing to open the doors to its new location in Kalamazoo in a few weeks, MLive.com reported on December 21.

The brewing company, which is based out of Douglas and also has a location in Grand Rapids, closed down its previous Kalamazoo location in June to begin moving into the longtime home of Olde Peninsula Brewpub and Restaurant. Olde Peninsula closed in July 2021, citing the pandemic as a reason.

The move to the corner of East Michigan Avenue and Portage Street has a bit of a full-circle feel as the original brewmaster at Olde Peninsula, Greg “Gonzo” Haner, left Olde Peninsula to open his own brewery, Gonzo’s Bigdogg Brewery, at 140 S. Westnedge Ave.

Six years later, Saugatuck Brewing Co. announced it would acquire Gonzo’s, and moved into the Westnedge space, prompting the brewery to be renamed under the Saugatuck moniker. Now Saugatuck is headed to the space Gonzo originally brewed.

The move was initially announced in November 2021, about seven months before they closed the Westnedge location permanently. Plans had been to move into the new space sooner.

“The process has taken a lot longer than we expected on the approval side of things, and now we are trying to push as fast as we can on a lot of the operational things,” Michael Biddick, food and beverage director with Saugatuck, told the Kalamazoo Gazette/MLive. “We are super excited to get back open.

“We are literally all-hands-on-deck getting as much done as fast as we can. We’ve had some people from the brewhouse in our Saugatuck location coming down to help to get everything ready. The whole company is pretty excited to getting back open in Kalamazoo.”

From a staffing perspective, Biddick said Saugatuck is still looking to hire about 30 new employees and is hiring for both front and back of the house at this time. He said the company has had some former employees reach out and they are looking for some new faces to fill out the roster.

“It’s a much bigger space than Westnedge,” he said, noting the capacity indoors is just shy of 200 and that the company anticipates being able to obtain permits for its outdoor patio in the spring.

While the company has stayed busy obtaining other necessary permits in recent months, they have also spent time remodeling in the front of the house.

That has included replacing all the tap lines, removing some of the window coverings and painting to lighten up the space, replacing the vinyl in the booths and taking out the carpet on the Portage Street side of the restaurant and replacing it with a commercial vinyl flooring that has a wood feel, Biddick said. The wood flooring in the room off East Michigan Avenue is as it was, he said.

While patrons will recognize some of the “larger, fun tables from the Westnedge location,” Biddick said, the menu will look a little different. For starters, as there is no pizza oven in the Olde Peninsula building — and the kitchen is too small to put one in — pizzas will not be offered at the new site.

“We will be using most of our menu from our Creston (Grand Rapids) location and parts from our Douglas location to start, and we’ll probably adapt and add new menu items as we chug along,” he said. “Right now, we figured we’d go with something we know works that we have the recipes for and can plug and play.”

Items Biddick expects to be popular at the new location include the country fried chicken tenders, the Nashville Hot chicken sandwich, the smash burgers and lamb naan flatbread sandwich.

Similar to the location on Westnedge, Saugatuck will brew on site. In addition to brewery favorites such as the Cottonmouth Crusher, Neapolitan Milk Stout and Bonfire Brown being available via can or on tap, there will also be new beers introduced that are specific to the location.

The first new beer being introduced will pay tribute to the building’s heritage and be called O.P.P. — short for Olde Peninsula Porter. The beer will be a vanilla porter, Sara VanSplinter, Saugatuck’s marketing and brand director told MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette.

In addition to serving up beers, the new location will also sell custom label, small batch, Michigan-made, private label liquor and wine, Biddick said. The locations has a small brewers license and tasting room license.

22 December, 2022

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