GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids’ Sovengard is officially moving down Bridge Street and another brewery is lined up to take its original home.
Co-owner Jason Spaulding says they signed a lease for the space about two months ago but kept their plans quiet until Tuesday, five days after Sovengard’s move cleared a key hurdle with the Grand Rapids Planning Commission.
“It’s such a cool beer garden outdoor space, we couldn’t resist when it became available,” Jason Spaulding said. “During COVID, time has taught us any outdoor space investment is going to be worth it.”
Broad Leaf’s expansion to Bridge Street also puts Spaulding near his roots. He co-founded Holland’s New Holland Brewing Co., which has also branched out to Bridge Street.
“(I’ve) been in this business for a long time and (I’m) just looking at these opportunities to grow,” he said.
Broad Leaf opened its first location in 2019 on Lake Eastbrook Boulevard and 29th Street in Kentwood. The brewery and distillery shares Brewery Vivant’s focus on sustainability and community outreach but focuses on “emerging beer styles and spirits.” Broad Leaf’s distillery recently won an American Distilling Institute Craft Spirits award for its 9 Botanical Gin and cocktail program.
“We’re getting really, really good feedback from all around the state but the people of Grand Rapids don’t know we exist. … We really think if we use this nice opportunity to come to this amazing business district, people will enjoy what we’re doing,” said Spaulding, who also lives in Grand Rapids. “It’s an opportunity to share this other passion with experimental beers.”
He says Broad Leaf’s second location will have a similar look and will serve up small batch craft beer, but different cocktails and food. Chef Ryan McClure from Brewery Vivant says he’s putting together a menu with a contemporary twist on street food, blending southern cooking and adding Asian influence.
Spaulding says the shipping container bar at the Bridge Street site already fits Broad Leaf’s style. The original Broad Leaf Brewery + Spirits also features indoor dining spaces built out of shipping containers.
Most of Broad Leaf’s renovations will focus on interior redesign, but Spaulding says they’ll also add a three-barrel brewing system and distillery to the space.
Broad Leaf’s formal announcement comes just days after the Grand Rapids Planning Commission conditionally approved Sovengard’s plan for the southeast corner of Bridge Street and Valley Avenue NW, just east of I-196. Sovengard’s owners plan to redevelop the former thrift store on that site into a restaurant with an outdoor patio. However, the planning commission’s approval hinges on Sovengard providing the city a copy of its formal 60-spot parking agreement with the nearby Resurrection Fellowship Church before obtaining a land use permit.
The new Sovengard will be located at 1232 Bridge St. NW. The renovated building will accommodate up to 125 patrons indoors as well as seating for 100 people on an outdoor patio bordered by Sovengard’s signature living wall, fencing and landscaping.
“Rick and Kelly (Muschiana) of Sovengard have been great friends and we are really excited to see what they will create in their new location further down Bridge Street,” Broad Leaf President and co-owner Kris Spaulding stated in a Tuesday news release.
Spaulding says Sovengard’s lease on its current site is up at the end of July. Broad Leaf Brewery plans to move in and start redesigning the interior in August. If all goes well, Broad Leaf Brewery + Spirits would open later this fall.
“We think we’re going to bring a lot, but we’re already joining a place that has a cool vibe … it’s an exciting opportunity for us,” Spaulding said.