Brewery Nyx owner shares plans for Grand Rapids’ first gluten-free brewery

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan’s first gluten-free brewery is coming to Grand Rapids.

On Wednesday, the owners of Brewery Nyx announced their plans to open in the city’s Roosevelt Park neighborhood. The brewery will be at 506 Oakland Ave. SW, just south of where Wealthy Street and Market Avenue intersect.

“It is a fantastic, diverse neighborhood,” brewery founder Jessica Stricklen said.

Stricklen said the building was previously home to a furniture maker. She told News 8 they’ve been preparing the site since their lease began last month. The owners of Brewery Nyx are waiting on a few more permits before construction can begin.

While Stricklen’s love of beer started in her native Grand Rapids, life eventually took her to Portland, Oregon. Two years ago, she returned to West Michigan and the dream of opening a gluten-free brewery started.

“Moving back to Grand Rapids, I was frustrated with the continued lack of gluten-free beer options,” she stated in a Wednesday news release. “This is Beer City, USA, and this won’t do.”

Stricklen adopted a gluten-free diet a decade ago when a doctor-prescribed elimination diet pinpointed it as the cause for why she was feeling ill.

As the chief financial officer of Beaux Freres Vineyards in Portland, Oregon, Stricklen learned to identify quality craft beverages. Stricklen said she also built relationships with breweries and discovered gluten-free pioneers Ground Breaker Brewing and Ghostfish Brewing Company.

Stricklen is teaming up with Thornapple Brewing Company’s former brewer Sebastian Henao Van Bommel to open Brewery Nyx. She said Van Bommel inquired for a friend about her need for a brewer. After he introduced her to area brewers, she shared her business plan with him.

“When I finally told him (Brewery Nyx) was gluten-free, he was very intrigued,” she said.

A photo provided by Brewery Nyx shows founder Jessica Stricklen and her business partner and head brewer, Sebastian Henao Van Bommel, standing outside the brewery’s future home at 506 Oakland Ave. SW in Grand Rapids.

Van Bommel will use millet, rice and other grist alternatives to create a variety of beers free of sorghum, malt and artificial additives.

Right now, the business partners are researching and developing their gluten-free playbook. Brewery Nyx will brew on site in 10-barrel batches, according to Stricklen. She said it will also operate a small distillery, which means some spirits will be on the menu, in addition to a few prepackaged gluten-free snacks.

Because gluten-free ingredients are pricey, Brewery Nyx’s brews will cost more than a traditional beer, ranging from $5.50 to $7 per a pint-size can.

The brewery partners aim to welcome a group of people who may have felt excluded at Michigan’s bars and breweries.

“We’re trying to be all inclusive and bring everybody back into the fold. Yes, we are making a product that gluten-free people can consume but also it’s just really great beer,” Stricklen told News 8.

Inside, Brewery Nyx will operate as a pickup spot and tasting space to “really to showcase our lineup,” Stricklen said.

Her vision includes an upscale atmosphere to match their premium beers. Stricklen said it will include a couple standing bars, a wood art installation by a local artist and a living plant wall.

In addition to playing off the word “nix,” Brewery Nyx’s name was partially inspired by the Greek goddess Nyx.

“She’s strong and misunderstood and I like that,” Stricklen said.

She says some people relegated to a gluten-free diet may relate.

Stricklen said if all goes well, Brewery Nyx is aiming to open in mid-June.

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