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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Grand Rapids Brewing Co. opened its doors Wednesday in downtown Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids, a city known as The Furniture City, is forging a new name for itself -- Beer City USA -- a title it earned in 2012.
However, beer has been made in Grand Rapids for almost as long as furniture. The first brewery was built in Grand Rapids in 1836.
Grand Rapids Brewing Company opened in 1893.
"Grand Rapids Brewing Co. was by far the largest brewery in Grand Rapids from 1893 to 1918" said Mark Sellers, owner of BarFly Ventures, which bought the rights to the Grand Rapids Brewing Co. name after it closed in 2011.
"It was three times larger than the current Founders [Brewing Company]. In fact, it was a huge brewery. But Prohibition in 1918 put it out of business."
By 1918, all breweries in Grand Rapids closed their doors as Prohibition began in Michigan, a year before it did in the rest of the country.
After Prohibition, the beer business started up again, but only lasted until 1951 in Grand Rapids.
It wasn't until 1993 when Grand Rapids saw the rebirth of local beer when Grand Rapids Brewing Co. opened again along 28th Street.
The restaurant and brewery remained open until 2011 when it suddenly closed.
On Wednesday, Grand Rapids Brewing Co. -- 1 Ionia Ave. SW -- became the 20th brewery to open in West Michigan.
"I'm just really happy to have the name Grand Rapids Brewing Co. in the city of Grand Rapids be something that people can feel proud of and enjoy going to," Sellers told 24 Hour News 8.
GRBC will join the ranks of powerhouse breweries like Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, which you can buy in 18 states, and Founders, which you can find in 23.
There is more on tap for West Michigan.
A new brewery just announced, Osgood Brewing, is hoping to open in downtown Grandville by spring or summer.
This begs the question, with the rise of new breweries, is there a demand for local beer?
"If you go to any of the breweries in town, Hopcat, Founders, Vivant, the new one on the west side called The Mitten, they're all crowded all the time, and in fact, some of them have had problems keeping beer in stock, they are running out of beer they're so busy," Sellers said.
"Bringing Grand Rapids Brewing Co. back to downtown has been a labor of love," said Sellers, who co-owns the brewery with his wife, Michele. "We wanted to restore some of the great brewing tradition associated with the name while creating a restaurant where anyone -- whether they are a beer drinker or not -- can go for a great meal, or just some drinks and snacks with friends."
Grand Rapids Brewing Co. is the only all-organic brewery in the Midwest.
GRBC is the latest restaurant and bar from Grand Rapids-based BarFly Ventures, which also owns HopCat, rated the No. 3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth by Beer Advocate magazine and the No. 2 Beer Bar in America by the readers of CraftBeer.com; Stella's Lounge, which recently was lauded for having the Best Burger in America by GQ magazine; and McFadden's Restaurant and Saloon, which hosts the state's largest St. Patrick's Day street party, Irish on Ionia, each year.
The new brewery will implement the same recycling and composting program that has reduced landfill waste by 90% at BarFly Ventures' other bars. Anything that can be recycled or composted will be.
Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies worked together Tuesday evening to chase down an alleged van thief, despite slippery roads.
A charity lodge where three people were killed back in September 2013 will likely never open again.
Kalamazoo Township Police are asking for your help in finding a 63-year-old man who told people back in November he was going off to die.