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Heading out for the holiday weekend? GRCC alumni are creating unique craft beer in distinctive settings across West Michigan

Nov. 23, 2021 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — You have family to entertain over the holidays and decide to give them a taste of Beer City, USA. Grand Rapids Community College has you covered, with a guide to alumni-owned or operated craft breweries.

From Perrin Brewing Co. in Comstock Park to Big Lake Brewing in Holland, GRCC alumni have created unique beers and distinctive settings for them to be enjoyed. You can check out a map, with links, online here.

“We know how much our alumni love to support their fellow alumni,” said Jenna VandeKamp, development manager for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “This is an especially fun way they can do that.”

The map includes Fountain Hill Brewery, located in GRCC’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center and operated by instructors and students in the Craft Brewing program. Opened in 2016, it was the first federally and state-licensed, revenue-generating brewery operated by a college.

Program alumnus Eric Plata, head brewer for Perrin Brewing Co., said it is key to West Michigan’s current and future craft brewing success.

“I think education’s a vital part of brewing in our industry and where we’re headed as an industry,” he said in a video on the Craft Brewing Program's Facebook page..

Miguel Munoz, a student in the first Craft Brewing cohort, said the program is thorough.

“We learned how to clean kegs; we learned how to turn tanks; we learned how to brew; we learned how to make a hop schedule; we learned how to figure out our efficiencies,” said Munoz, now a brewer at Mitten Brewing Co. “We learned how to do anything and everything that more or less entails a small brewery.”

Alumni who own or work at a brewery not listed on the map can contact VandeKamp at jennavandekamp@grcc.edu or 616-234-3025.

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