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total liquor sales for Ottawa County totaled $26

Time:2018-04-08 21:15Shoes websites Click:

continued industry growth Sees local

Although the alcohol industry in Holland and Zeeland has had its share of difficulties through the years, the current scene is booming with the future bright.

Austin. Metz @hollandsentinel.com, (616) 546-4290

Back in March 2016, Jim Granzotto began a process he knew was going to be a time-consuming factor: opening Great Legs Winery Brewery Distillery LLC.

Granzotto was attempting to open a business that would serve homemade wine, beer and spirits under one roof. That meant licensing for production and sale of the three.

Having started the process in March 2016, Granzotto didn’t receive the proper licensing until mid-January 2017.

And while it was difficult, looking back as the business recently celebrated one year in business, Jim and his wife Joanne Granzotto do not regret taking the path they did.

“Having gone for a triple licensing at one time was a smart thing to do looking back on it,” Joanne Granzotto said. “We got the government paperwork done and completed at one time although each individual one has its own processes for completion.”

Despite the difficulties of getting licensed, Great Legs is now part of a thriving community of businesses that always seems to be growing. While attitudes of the past made it a challenge to get the alcohol industry started, the brewery scene continues to boom, more companies are requesting liquor licenses and Holland’s biggest project — the Civic Center — is set to add to the list.

And while there is no crystal ball on what the future holds for the growth of West Michigan’s alcohol scene, based on area quotas and recent liquor sales numbers, there appears to be no signs of stopping.

Breweries, breweries and more breweries

No where is the alcohol scene growing more than in local breweries.

Whether it is the 20-year celebration held by New Holland Brewing last year, the growth and expansion of Big Lake Brewing, or the announcement of Hopland Brewstillery opening on Butternut Drive, the brewing industry appears to be continuing traction.

A question in the minds of local residents is when and if the brewery market will become over-saturated.

Dave White, vice president of retail operations and partner at New Holland Brewing, addressed the concept of over-saturation in the local brewing scene.

“I tend to answer that question and comment on how many wineries there are in the United States and a lot of times, people have no idea,” White said.

“Last time I looked, there are more wineries than there are breweries, and I don’t hear people talk about how there are too many wineries. I don’t know if it is an issue in the larger perspective, and I think it really comes down to if we are making great beer.”

Data show a uptick in brewery openings, with only one brewery — Fireside Brewing — closing in the area.

Holland doesn’t have much control over who gets to serve alcohol — city council can put ordinances in place mandating some criteria, but if businesses meet the criteria, the Liquor Control Commission can hand down a license.

Not everyone is a fan of the growth of the industry. Councilman Myron Trethewey says he gets complimented often on his votes against alcohol in public places. If he could make the rules, he said, there’d be fewer bars and breweries.

“If that’s the moral compass of this community, which is what I’m hearing because I get compliments all the time on how I vote, we need to be listening to that,” he said.

Barb Kuipers, manager at Wooden Shoe Tap Room, said bars could feel the impact of the breweries, but similar to other trends, she said it is important to embrace it rather than fight it.

“It is like any industry in that it is a good thing that you are open and that you are doing well, but I think you always have to stay on your toes and you have to keep reinventing yourself,” Kuipers said. “In order to compete with all the breweries that are open, you have to continually do that.”

Alcohol in public places

The Civic Center could soon join the list of venues that serve alcohol in Holland.

City council voted in January to apply for a Class C liquor license that would allow alcohol to be served during events. As always, there was one “no” vote on applying for the license from Trethewey, who consistently votes that way when it comes to alcohol on public property.

He does not agree alcohol sales will be a big portion of the building’s revenue after its $14.15 million renovation.

“To me it’s frightening that we have to have that to measure success,” he said. “It was successful in the past, and that’s why (the Civic Center) has sat there for 60 years. Now we need to bring the alcohol in to make it more successful?”

The city has not yet fully obtained the license for the Civic Center. Also, officials would then need to decide on alcohol policies outlining when and how alcohol would be served there.

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